Want to take care of your heart health while you’re young? Embrace tofu, says study

Updated on:24 March 2020, 10:52am IST
While a lot of us are curious about the world switching to the plant-based diet, a recent study suggests that soy’s by-product, tofu can cut heart disease.
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This plant based protein source can help you gain muscle and heart health. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Are you bored of paneer or just curious about adding plant-based protein into your diet? Tofu might be a nutritious yet tasty start. According to a recent study, it takes care of both your taste buds and your beating heart.  

If you want a healthy heart, eat tofu daily as consuming foods that contain high amounts of isoflavones is linked to a moderately lower risk of heart disease.

What are isoflavones?
Isoflavones are a type of polyphenol found in legumes, including soybeans, chickpeas, fava beans, pistachios, peanuts, and other fruits and nuts.

How does isoflavones-rich tofu impact heart disease risk?
Soybeans are the richest source of isoflavones, and soy foods and ingredients contain varying concentrations of isoflavones.

After eliminating a number of other factors known to increase heart risk, the researchers found that consuming tofu, which is high in isoflavones, more than once a week was associated with an 18 % lower risk of heart disease, compared to a 12 % lower risk for those who ate tofu less than once a month.

Published in the journal Circulation, the study from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital analysed data from more than 200,000 people who participated in three prospective health and nutrition studies; all participants were free of cancer and heart disease when the studies began.

tofu
Ladies, all the soy chaap delicacies are the way to get healthy isoflavones . Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

The favorable association with eating tofu regularly was found primarily in young women before menopause or postmenopausal women who were not taking hormones.

Also, Read: Is your parent suffering from heart disease? Follow these 8 caregiving tips

Is soya milk just as healthy for the heart?
Soya milk, on the other hand, tends to be highly processed and is often sweetened with sugar.

The study found no significant association between soymilk consumption and lower heart disease risk.

Is consuming tofu the ‘cure-all’ solution for heart disease?
For the study, researchers analysed health data of more than 74,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS).

“Tofu and other isoflavone-rich, plant-based foods are excellent protein sources and alternatives to animal proteins,” he added.

“Despite these findings, I don’t think tofu is by any means a magic bullet. Overall diet quality is still critical to consider, and tofu can be a very healthy component,” said study lead author Qi Sun from Harvard University.

tofu
Daily consumption of tofu can only supplement heart health, not curb it completely.Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Tofu isn’t the magic pill for people at heart risk although it’s introduction to your diet can help curb heart disease risk.

The researchers emphasized that the study should be interpreted with caution because their observations found a relationship but did not prove causality. Many other factors can influence the development of heart disease, including physical exercise, family history, and a person’s lifestyle habits, they added.

If you’re just bored of paneer or considering switching to the plant-based protein sources, it does have some science-backed benefits, although you must weigh in both its pros and cons before completely switching to plant-based protein sources in your diet.

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