Dubbed the “silent killer,” high cholesterol damages your cardiovascular health, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. This is where the drug, known as statins, comes in to reduce the amount of cholesterol produced by your body. However, soy could also be very effective, according to new research.
Whether you add a splash of soy milk to your coffee or toss fried tofu cubes into your noodles, soy has established itself as a popular plant-based staple over the past century.
And for good reason. Rich in various vitamins and minerals, soy has been linked to a lower risk of various cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and stroke.
If you think this plant-based food is just for vegans, a new study might make you think again.
Research, published in the journal Antioxidants, has found that consuming soy flour rich in the protein B-conglycinin has the potential to lower “bad” cholesterol levels.
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The team looked at 19 varieties of soy flour, each containing different proportions of two proteins – glycinin and B-conglycinin.
The proportion of glycinin in these varieties ranged from 22% to 60% while the B-conglycinin ratio ranged from 22% to 52%.
Using a simulation of the human digestive process, the team identified 13 bioactive peptides produced during digestion, most of which came from these two proteins.
What’s more, the researchers found that the inhibitory properties were two to seven times less potent than simvastatin – a popular drug used to treat high levels of “bad” cholesterol and low blood fat levels.
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The study author added, “The digested soy peptides were able to reduce lipid accumulation by 50-70%, and that’s very important.
“It was comparable to the statin, which reduced it by 60 percent.”
Plus, soy varieties also reduce oxidized “bad” cholesterol — the kind that dangerously builds up in the walls of your arteries.
Mejia said: “One of the main risk factors for atherosclerosis is oxidized LDL [bad] cholesterol; therefore, we investigated the preventive effects of soy digestions at eight different concentrations.
“Each reduced the rate of LDL oxidation in a dose-dependent manner, inhibiting the formation of disease-associated early and late oxidation products.”
Higher concentrations of B-conglycinin were found to be particularly helpful, as the protein showed greater reductions in oxidized “bad” cholesterol and other blood fats.
Plus, high cholesterol wasn’t the only condition that benefited from soy flour.
“We also clearly saw different markers influenced by key enzymes that regulate hepatic lipogenesis – the development of a fatty liver,” Mejia added.
This suggests potential for preventing fatty liver disease.
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