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SO.....SOY Good For The Heart

May 18, 2008
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. One CVD that affects Americans daily and kills more Americans than any other is coronary heart disease.

In October, 1999, the FDA authorized the use of health claims about the role of soy protein in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease on labeling of foods containing soy protein. Scientific studies show that a daily diet containing at least 25 grams of soy protein can lower cholesterol.

One such study conducted on 5,000 men and women living in Japan showed that those with the highest soy intake had the lowest cholesterol levels. Other studies have shown that cholesterol can be reduced as much as 9% with the intake of 30-40 grams of soy protein in place of daily animal protein.

For centuries, Eastern countries have benefited from the diet of soybeans and soy products. Many studies have been done on the relationship between Asian populations who routinely eat soy foods (up to 55 grams per day) and their low heart disease rates. Typical Western diets usually contain only around 5 grams of soy protein. Also, Americans tend to eat diets high in animal protein and fats while the culinary diets of Eastern countries are just the opposite.

So, what's in soy that's so great? Or better yet, what's not in soy that's so great? First, soy and most soy products are very low in fat, and soy contains no cholesterol. Couple that with the fact that soy contains high fiber and high protein, and you have one of the best foods you can eat.

Let's take fiber for instance; most Americans think of roughage when they hear the word fiber. That's true, but there are many fibrous foods, including soy, that can also be digested, unlike roughage or insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber, like that found in soybeans, has been proven to reduce triglyceride levels.

As many vegetarians and vegans know, soy products are an excellent source of protein. Because non-meat eaters usually find themselves looking for high protein foods, soy products have long been a staple in their diet. In fact, soybeans are higher in protein than any other legume and most other plant foods. About 35% of all the calories in soybeans are proteins. These plant proteins have also been proven to help lower blood cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that eating soy products high in proteins can also increase HDL; the good cholesterol in the blood.

The fats in soybeans are mostly polyunsaturated, such as Omega-3 fatty acids found in soybeans and soy products. These polyunsaturated fats have been proven to reduce risks of cancer as well as heart disease. Other studies have shown that soybeans are rich in B-vitamins; one such B-vitamin is folacin. Many people who do not get enough of folacin in their diets may be at risk for heart disease.

The relationship between heart disease and soy products continues to be studied throughout the world. Thankfully, the FDA and other professional organizations have seen the benefits that soy foods can have on a healthy heart.
About the Author
Dee Overly is an artist who discovered the health benefits of soy milk and now sells a
Soymilk Maker at www.SoymilkCrossroads.com.Stop by to grab a free Vegan recipe book and check out the blog.
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