March 26/Arlington, Va./Des Moines Register -- The American College of Cardiologists released a 20-year study that showed a diet heavy in isoflavones can help reduce high blood pressure in young adults and African-Americans. Isoflavones in tofu are widely believed to produce enzymes that dilate or widen blood vessels, countering the destructive impact of cholesterol.

Tofu, long a staple of the Chinese diet, is made by coagulating soy milk, which is produced by soaking, grinding, boiling and straining dried soybeans. The Chinese eat so much tofu that they buy almost one third of the U.S. soybean crop to make the soy milk needed for tofu production.

Soy flour and textured soy protein also contain high amounts of isoflavones. Soy oils and soy sauces do not contain isoflavones.

Linda Funk, executive director of the Soyfoods Council, said “to have this endorsement from cardiologists is certainly good news. It confirms the clinical evidence published over the past several years that soy provides a variety of heart-health benefits. Soy protein lowers blood cholesterol, soyfoods are low in saturated fat and soy isoflavones may directly improve the health of the arteries.”

 From the March 26, 2012, Prepared Foods’ Daily Update