If you are a tofu fan, you would be delighted to know that the vegan wonder may give you a healthy heart too. According to a latest study eating tofu daily could prove beneficial as eating food that contain higher amounts of isoflavones is linked to a moderately lower risk of heart disease.
For the unversed, isoflavones are a type of polyphenol found in legumes, including soybeans, chickpeas, fava beans, pistachios, peanuts and other fruits and nuts.Turns out that soybeans are the richest source of isoflavones. Also soy foods and ingredients contain varying concentrations of isoflavones.
To come to the findings, researchers eliminated a number of other factors known to increase heart risk. The findings published in the journal Circulation revealed that eating tofu which is high in isoflavones, more than once a week was associated with an 18 per cent lower risk of heart disease, compared to a 12 per cent lower risk for those who ate tofu less than once a month.
The team 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. It must be noted that all participants were free of cancer and heart disease when the studies began.
Young women before menopause or postmenopausal women who were not taking hormone, exhibited more favourable association.
"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.
Soymilk, 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.
"Other human trials and animal studies of isoflavones, tofu and cardiovascular risk markers have also indicated positive effects, so people with an elevated risk of developing heart disease should evaluate their diets," Sun said.
"Tofu and other isoflavone-rich, plant-based foods are excellent protein sources and alternatives to animal proteins," he added.
Health data of more than 74,000 women from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) was analysed for the study.
The study was observational in nature, and did not shed light on any causal relationship between eating tofu and heart health.
Many other factors can influence the development of heart disease, including physical exercise, family history and a person's lifestyle habits, they added.
(This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.)