Consuming soy may result in at least a small drop in "bad" cholesterol in older women with normal or only slightly elevated cholesterol, results of a new study from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul suggest.
The drop was seen in a small study in which women aged 45 to 70 consumed powdered isoflavones, a component of soy, for close to three months.
In the study, the researchers tested the blood of 18 postmenopausal women during three 93-day test periods in which they consumed 7, 65 or 132 milligrams of isoflavones per day. During the high-isoflavone diet, the level of LDL ("bad") cholesterol was 6.5% lower compared to the levels when the women had the lowest amount of soy protein.
Although the effects were small, it is possible that isoflavones may contribute to a lower risk of heart disease if consumed over many years in conjunction with other lipid-lowering strategies, the researchers said. The decrease in LDL cholesterol observed in the study "could be associated with a 16% reduction in coronary artery disease risk.
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