According to Japanese researchers, soy isoflavones, a natural compound with antioxidant properties and soy proteins may lower cholesterol levels and offer significant heart health benefits.
Researchers conducted a meta-analysis on 11 randomized controlled trails published between 1990 and 2006.
After examining the data, researchers found that soy isoflavones could impact LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels and soy proteins could decrease LDL levels and increase HDL ("good") levels - a result that would be beneficial to heart health.
The greatest difference was seen on study participants who already had high cholesterol. Quantities that would need to be consumed to experience the potential benefits were not given.
The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, go against recommendations made by the American Heart Association that concluded soy had little effect on cholesterol levels.
Despite the conflicting conclusions, more studies are needed before solid recommendations can be made.
In the mean time, soy remains a complete protein and as a result, soy based foods, such as soymilk and tofu, are staples of many plant based diets.
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