Soy reduces heart disease for women

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December 3, 2007  
Filed under Heart health, Women's health

AFP – Older women who eat traditional Japanese -based foods on a regular basis face lower risks of , a doctor who headed a government-sponsored study said.

Soybeans – eaten as tofu, miso soup or Japanese fermented beans known as “natto” – have a high amount of isoflavones, a natural source of similar to the female hormone, the study found.

The risk of heart attacks or strokes for a woman who consumed soy at least five times a week was 0.39 compared with 1 for a woman who consumed the least, it said.

The results were even more striking among women past , with the risk falling to 0.25, said Yoshihiko Kokubo, chief doctor of preventive cardiology at Japan’s National Cardiovascular Center.

“The fact that women past menopause had fewer risks of disease show isoflavones play a supportive role in preventing heart attacks,” he told AFP.
Estrogen is the most important female hormone that affects women’s menstrual cycle and is essential for the healthy functioning of the female body. Estrogen levels decrease sharply once a woman begins menopause.

The study, commissioned by the health ministry, surveyed a total of 40,462 men and women in healthy conditions in rural Japan over 13 years.

The findings would seem to contradict those by the American Heart Association, which last year cautioned there was little direct proof that soy consumption lowered the risk of heart disease.

“Americans’ general eating habits, which include more fat intake than Japanese, may explain this difference in results,” Kokubo said.

He also acknowledged that his study may have come out differently if it had focused on Japanese who live in major cities who tend to eat more Western food.

Kokubo said the results did not show a direct correlation among men who eat soy, Kokubo said.

“Men tend to drink alcohol and smoke more than women, so that could have hindered the advantages,” he said


2 Comments on "Soy reduces heart disease for women"

  1. Alexis Kenne on Fri, 9th May 2008 5:08 pm 

    Doctors now know that heart disease is so deadly for women that their chances of dying from it are one in two. That means basically that either you or your best girlfriend is likely to die of a heart attack, stroke , or related heart problem. Doctors have traditionally used a one-size-fits-all approach to identifying and diagnosing heart disease. In this view, women often lack the “classic” signs of reduced blood flow to part of the heart, a condition known as ischemia. Doctors and patients often attribute chest pains in women to noncardiac causes, leading to misinterpretation of their condition. Men usually experience crushing chest pain during a heart attack.

  2. congenital heart defect on Wed, 21st Jan 2009 7:06 am 

    Thanks for the information. Does soy reduce heart disease just for women ?

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