Soy Promotes Healthy Cholesterol Levels

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Cholesterol, Food and Nutrition
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

More than 30 clinical studies have shown that soy is highly effective as part of a cholesterol-lowering diet. Case in point, an August 1995 meta-analysis from the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who ate an average of 47 grams of soy protein per day had a 13 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol levels, a 10.5 percent decrease in triglycerides, and a nine percent decrease in total cholesterol levels.

A November 2001 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine also found that a high consumption of legumes, including soybeans, meant a lowered risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). They concluded that increased legume intake may be an important part of a dietary approach to preventing CHD.

Additionally, a report in the August 2002 issue of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology found that a diet rich in tofu and other soy products may help protect postmenopausal women from arterial disease. According to researchers, phytoestrogens were associated with less arterial stiffness among more than 400 postmenopausal women. The benefit was most pronounced among the oldest women, or those who had been postmenopausal the longest.

Surprisingly, even the FDA agrees that soy is beneficial for maintaining good cholesterol levels. In 1999, they authorized of the use of health claims on the labeling of foods containing soy protein, based on research which shows that soy foods may reduce risk of coronary heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels. According to the FDA, foods must contain 6.25 grams per serving of soy protein in order to qualify for the claim, and a daily intake of 25 grams is recommended in order to achieve a significant cholesterol-lowering effect. Now that's healthy heart nutrition!

For more information on healthy cholesterol levels and cardiovascular nutrition, visit

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