According to researchers, individuals who replaced lean meat with tofu cut their risk of heart disease by reducing levels of cholesterol and other fatty substances in the blood called triglycerides, and slowing the rate at which LDL ("bad") cholesterol is oxidized. When LDL is oxidized it is more likely to deposit in arteries and form artery-clogging plaque that can lead to heart disease. Studies have shown that patients with heart disease have higher levels of oxidized LDL in their blood.
The researchers explain that estrogens, including plant-based forms of the hormone known as phytoestrogens found in soy products such as tofu, may lower a person's susceptibility to LDL oxidation. These compounds contain antioxidants that are thought to prevent cholesterol from oxidation.
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