New research in monkeys shows a diet high in soy could be good for the hearts and bones of premenopausal women.
The results from two separate studies suggest the natural plant estrogens in soy may be most effective in conjunction with the body's own estrogen, therefore making soy especially beneficial for women who haven't reached menopause.
In one study researchers say they found that monkeys that fed on a soy-based diet had better cholesterol levels compared to monkeys who ate a diet of milk and animal protein. Specifically, in monkeys who were at the highest risk for heart disease, the ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) decreased by 48 percent, which is equal to about a 50-percent reduction in the size of fatty deposits in the arteries.
Researchers say their results are important because studies have shown heart vessel disease, also known as atherosclerosis, begins in the 30s and 40s for women. Hence the protection provided by soy in the monkeys, who were selected to represent women in their 30s and 40s, presumably means the same benefit would apply to premenopausal women conclude researchers .