A new study on middle-aged men in Scotland found that those taking 20g of soy protein and 80mg of isoflavones for five weeks significantly lowered both cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Scotland has one of the highest death rates from coronary heart disease in the world, attributed to high rates of smoking, poor diet and poverty.
The effects of soy protein have often been tested on heart health in women. The new randomized, double-blind, study, published in this month's Journal of the American College of Nutrition (23(1):85-91), used 61 men, aged between 45 and 59, from the Isles of Lewis and Harris in Scotland.
All of the men had high blood pressure and/or total cholesterol levels.
One group followed the soy diet while another took a placebo containing olive oil. The soy group saw significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, in addition to lower total cholesterol and non-high density lipoprotein cholesterol.
No such effects were observed in the group taking olive oil but they did see an increase in high density lipoprotein cholesterol.
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC), calling for concerted action on a European level to curb the growing epidemic of cardiovascular disease, said yesterday that the Irish Presidency of the EU has taken up the challenge by placing cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment at the top of its health agenda.