The Effects of Soy Protein and Heart Disease

Soy is well known around the world for its versatility and high-quality protein content. If you’ve ever added soy to your meals, you’re also familiar with its great taste. In addition to these benefits, did you know that soy protein possesses cholesterol-lowering effects? In 1999, the FDA recognized soy protein's ability to lower cholesterol and may potentially decrease the risk of heart disease. Since soy protein may help against cardiovascular disease, it doesn’t hurt to try adding a little soy to your next meal. Learn more about soy protein's heart-healthy abilities and how to incorporate it into your diet.

WHAT IS HEART DISEASE?

The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD), or coronary heart disease. CAD decreases blood flow to the heart, which can result in heart attacks and other health problems.

High cholesterol is a common risk factor for heart disease, in addition to smoking and high blood pressure. In the United States, 38% of all adults have high cholesterol. While some cholesterol is required for good health, your body produces the cholesterol it needs naturally. That’s why health organizations recommend consuming as little cholesterol as possible. Since there are no noticeable symptoms of high cholesterol, regular visits to the doctor are the only way to know if your levels are normal.

SOY PROTEIN’S FDA HEART HEALTH CLAIM

According to the FDA, soy protein has the ability to lower your cholesterol levels. Since high cholesterol contributes to poor heart health, soy protein may also lower your risk of heart disease. The FDA claims that 25 grams of soy protein daily, when combined with a diet that’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. Soy protein also contains isoflavones, which may also be good for the heart. Studies show that eating foods that are high in isoflavones more than once a week is associated with a 18% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

SOYBEAN OIL'S FDA HEART HEALTH CLAIM

Following in soy protein’s footsteps, soybean oil’s heart-healthy claim was approved in 2017. While more research is needed, studies suggest that consuming 1.5 tablespoons of soybean oil daily may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Soybean oil contains Omega-3, an unsaturated fat that may improve heart health and blood pressure levels, which are both risk factors for heart disease.

Now that you know the connection between soy protein and oil and cardiovascular disease, why not give your heart health a boost by whipping up one of our delicious soy protein recipes tonight? You can also visit our Soy Myths and Facts page to debunk some common misconceptions about soy and its effect on certain groups. Curious about soy production and farming? Visit our Soy Production page to learn how soy is sustainably farmed and delivered to your table.