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Is Tofu Good For Cholesterol

Should You Use Soy To Lower Your Cholesterol

Scrambled Tofu–Egg Substitute with NO Cholesterol

Despite the small decrease in cholesterol that they may provide, soy products are recommended as good replacements for animal fats, which are known for raising cholesterol levels. In addition to their ability to modestly lower LDL cholesterol, soy products are high in protein and fiber and low in saturated fat, which are additional plusses to a heart-healthy food.

The Good And The Bad: Hdl Vs Ldl Cholesterol

Two different types of lipoproteins transport cholesterol around the body:

  • High-density lipoproteins, or HDL, are considered healthy.
  • And low-density lipoproteins, or LDL, are the problematic ones that can drop cholesterol right into the bloodstream, which then makes its way to develop plaque on artery walls.

Why is LDL so problematic? The plaque that they form on arteries builds up over time and eventually narrows the pathways, making blood flow more difficult over time. Ultimately, that pressure can make artery walls rupture, leading to blood clots that can block blood flow, partially or entirely.

Blocked arteries are the primary cause of heart attacks and strokes, depending on where the blood blockage exists.

Sometimes, your LDL may be in the normal range and still be problematic for your body. That’s because not only do overall levels matter, but so do the balance of the two. If you don’t have too much LDL in the body, but your good cholesterol levels are too low, it can cause an unhealthy imbalance.

The best time to start caring for your cholesterol levels is before they become a problem it’s never too early to begin monitoring your cholesterol and keeping your overall intake low.

Study Suggests Lower Ldl Cholesterol Is Better

A recent meta-analysis published in JAMA Cardiology suggests that it is both safe and effective to lower LDL below 70 mg/dL. The authors reviewed a large database of CVD patients with LDL levels averaging 70 mg/dL or less at the start of the studies. On average, there was a 20% drop in CVD risk seen for every 39 mg/dL drop in LDL cholesterol. In other words, a drop in LDL from 70 mg/dL down to 31 mg/dL was associated with 20% fewer CVD events such as heart attack or stroke.

The benefit was consistent regardless of the medications used to lower cholesterol. The JAMA Cardiology meta-analysis looked at studies in which LDL was lowered with a statin drug, which works by lowering LDL production in the liver, or with a different type of medication, including ezetimibe , which interferes with absorption of LDL from the intestine, or PCSK9 inhibitors, newer injectable medicines that increase uptake of LDL from the bloodstream into the liver. The drop in CVD risk was in line with previous studies of patients who started with LDL levels around 130 mg/dL, and saw a drop in CVD events of about 22% for every 39 mg/dL drop in LDL.

In this study, there was no increased risk of adverse outcomes , even when LDL was lowered to as low as 20 mg/dL. Although statin medications themselves have been linked to side effects, especially at high doses, it appears that extremely low LDL concentrations are not responsible for side effects.

Also Check: Is Shrimp Bad For Your Cholesterol

Getting Started With The Low Cholesterol Diet Plan

When talking about cholesterol, you may have heard of LDL and HDL. In laymans terms, LDL is bad cholesterol and HDL is the good cholesterol. We also need to watch out for our triglycerides, because high triglycerides along with high LDL levels will increase our risk for heart disease.

I know you dont want to hear about what foods to avoid cos it gets depressing. So, Id like to share with you foods that actually help lower your bad cholesterol.

  • Legumes include beans, lentils, and peas. They are rich in fiber, proteins and minerals and can replace the grains and processed meat in your diet.
  • Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats and fiber which are effective in lowering LDL. Make sure to limit your avocado intake to 1 a day.
  • Nuts are nutritionally-dense foods that are high in monounsaturated fats. Almonds and walnuts are your best bet. Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids while almonds are rich in L-arginine that help reduce blood pressure. Nuts are also rich in phytosterols, calcium, potassium, and magnesium which help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Fatty fish -such as salmon and mackerel are rich in Omega-3s and help increase HDL or good cholesterol. The best ways to cook fish are steamed, broiled, or baked.
  • Whole Grains specifically oats and barley contain more vitamins, minerals and fiber than refined grains. They contain beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that helps lower bad cholesterol.
  • Effects Of Soy On Inflammation And Obesity

    The Fruit is Good!: Tofu

    Studies involving human volunteers have shown that soy protein also confers anti-inflammatory effects. For example, adults with T2D and nephropathy who consumed soy protein had significant reductions in serum CRP . In addition, hemodialytic patients consuming 27 g/day of soy protein for six months had lower ratios of neutrophil:lymphocyte concentration, a marker of systemic inflammation , and a diet supplemented with soy nuts improved arterial stiffness in adults at risk for CVD . The reasons for these anti-inflammatory effects are unclear however, it has been postulated that the amino acid composition of soy protein may partly account for its ability to mitigate systemic inflammation . Notably, glycine was shown to promote antioxidant enzyme activity and inhibit inflammatory pathways in a rat model . A particular challenge in interpreting the literature on soy and inflammation is that markers used to assess inflammation vary by study . Moreover, several studies are conducted with postmenopausal women, which limit the generalizability of these results. Together, these limitations create difficulty in ascertaining the net effect of soy and its constituents using pooled analysis.

    Read Also: Is Tuna Fish Bad For Cholesterol

    The Problem With Too Much Cholesterol

    Dietary cholesterol comes primarily from sources of saturated fats, like meat and other animal-based products.

    The double-whammy with cholesterol is that by eating a diet high in saturated fat intake, you consume more cholesterol, and these foods make your liver produce more cholesterol, too! This increased production and consumption turns into high cholesterol levels in the body pretty quickly.

    How Much To Eat

    If youâre new to eating soy, add it to your diet a little bit at a time. Substitute soy protein for animal protein foods a few times a week. Thatâs the best way to cut saturated fat and lower your overall risk of disease.

    A little goes a long way. Your best diet is one that has a variety of foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and beans. Thatâs better than a diet thatâs too heavy in soy products.

    Eating soy in moderation should be fine. But ease into it and see how you do. It’s rare, but some people have digestion problems when they eat soy. Others are allergic to soy.

    Also, “some people have concerns that too much soy can have negative hormonal effects, particularly on men,â Beckerman says. There is some controversy about this. Talk with your doctor or a nutritionist about how much soy you should include in your diet.

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    Will A Vegan Diet Lower Cholesterol

    Not necessarily. You can include all of the “right” things and still see your cholesterol raise due to genetic factors. In some cases, you may still end up with no choice but to resort to a cholesterol-lowering medication check in with your doctor and have them monitor any changes you make closely to see how your body progresses.

    If need be, there are plenty of drug options, from statins that lower LDL and slightly raise HDL to cholesterol absorption inhibitors, citrate lyase inhibitors, bile acid sequestrants, fibrates, niacin, and combination pills. There are also prescription omega-3 fatty acids, though many come from non-vegan sources like fish.

    We hope you find these simple tools helpful in your mission to keep your vegan cholesterol down!

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    Amount Of Soy For Health Benefits

    Benefits From Eating Tofu – Get Into The Tofu Habit For A Naturally Healthy You

    Generally, around 30 to 50mg of isoflavones is enough to offer health benefits.Examples of the average isoflavone content of some foods include:

    • half a cup of soybeans 40 to 75mg isoflavones
    • quarter cup of soy flour 45 to 69mg isoflavones
    • one 250ml glass of soy drink 15 to 60mg isoflavones
    • one 115g block of tofu 13 to 43mg isoflavones
    • one 110g block of tempeh 41mg isoflavones
    • one container of soy yoghurt 26mg isoflavones
    • two slices of soy bread 7 to 15mg isoflavones
    • teaspoon of soy sauce 0.4 to 2.2mg isoflavones.

    Some studies have shown traditional soy foods tend to have more beneficial health effects compared with second generation soy foods.

    Dont forget to check food labels, many fermented soy products like soy sauce are high in salt and are not beneficial to our health.

    Recommended Reading: Is Shrimp Bad For Your Cholesterol

    Are You Getting Enough Soy

    Ensure you’re getting enough soy, and enjoy a superabundance of healthy delicious foods by following one of the Healthiest Diets on Earth

    Bottom Line: Is soy bad for you? Potentially, if its soy that comes in concentrated pill or powder form. Stick to whole food sources like soymilk, tofu, soybeans , and tempeh .

    Keep in mind, too, that the health-promoting chemicals in soybeans that have gotten so much attention in recent years the isoflavones are plentiful in all beans: pinto beans, black beans, lentils, red beans, and so on. And these beans generally derive a mere 3 to 9% of their calories from fat. Soybeans, by contrast, are 37% fat and therefore more likely to promote weight gain.

    But all beans, including soybeans, are full of nutritional riches and are a very healthy, protein-packed alternative to meat or poultry. Instead of increasing our cholesterol levels, like animal meat, beans lower it.

    Add These Foods To Lower Ldl Cholesterol

    Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.

    1. Oats. An easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber.

    2. Barley and other whole grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.

    3. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.

    4. Eggplant and okra. These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.

    Also Check: Can Dehydration Skew A Cholesterol Test

    Here’s What Happens When You Eat Tofu Every Day

    Tofu has a long and storied history, and before the advent of plant-based proteins like Beyond Meat, which makes burgers out of pea proteins , it was seen as something of a godsend by vegetarians who longed for a meat substitute that was high in protein.

    Tofu traces its roots to China and is thought to have originated more than two millennia ago, perhaps by accident when the addition of seaweed to soy milk caused the milk to curdle . The modern-day process of making it is actually quite similar to the cheesemaking process the soy milk is curdled, pressed into blocks, and allowed to cool.

    It’s extremely versatile, too tofu dishes can be crispy or soft and silky, and a number of textures in between. As a result, tofu or similar products are used widely across a number of world cuisines. Because of its neutral taste, it takes on the flavor of the dish it’s in, which is why you can find savory dishes as well as tofu desserts. It has a number of health benefits as well.

    Here’s what happens if you eat tofu every day.

    The Best Types Of Soy To Eat:

    The Best Good tofu Recipes

    All of soys potential benefits come with an important caveat: To reap them, you need to pick minimally processed forms of soy think tempeh, tofu, miso, and edamame.

    These foods serve up soys entire nutritional package without added sugar, unhealthy fats, sodium or preservatives that you usually find in highly processed foods.

    Soy frankenfoods like meat analogs, soy bars, soy yogurts, or protein powders usually only contain soy protein isolates, rather than nutrition from the whole soybean. “Just as other processed foods are lower in nutrient density, removing the protein from the other enzymes and bacteria needed for digestion affects the nutritional quality,” says Taz Bhatia, MD, integrative health expert and author of What Doctors Eat.

    As for how often you should eat soy? As with all foods, moderation is the way to go. Generally, three to five servings of minimally processed soy foods per week are perfectly fine, Bhatia says. If youre unsure, or you have an underlying health condition , bring it up with your doctor the next time you discuss your diet.

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    Does Soy Have What It Takes To Lower Cholesterol

    When the connection between soy and cholesterol was first established, scientists found that there were two major components could potentially lower cholesterol: the soy protein itself and isoflavones. Human studies have looked at the ability of soy protein, isoflavones, and a combination of both components to assess the cholesterol-lowering ability of soy.

    Soy protein and isoflavones used in these studies ranged between 25 to 135 grams a day of soy protein and 40 to 300 mg a day of isoflavones. With an average ingested amount of 50 grams, low-density lipoproteins were only lowered by an average of 3%. High-density lipoproteins and triglycerides do not appear to be affected by soy protein and/or isoflavones. Current research suggests that the soy protein, or some component of the soy protein, may be the cause of the lowered LDL cholesterol levels. Studies using a combination of soy protein and isoflavones show the most, although small degree of, cholesterol-lowering effect. Studies using isoflavones alone have resulted in minimal if any, cholesterol-lowering ability.

    Tofu Is No Magic Bullet To Improved Heart Health

    Sun readily admits that the observational nature of the study makes it impossible to prove cause and effect, even though the researchers analyzed a robust trove of data.

    In all three studies, the people who frequently ate tofu also tended to have the healthiest lifestyles they exercised more, consumed more fruits and vegetables, and ate less red meat and trans fats.

    Sun says, We should step back and realize that tofu is not magic. Isoflavones are not magic. A diet is complex and has many different components, and this study adds to the evidence that soy products, particularly as a protein source, can be a part of a very healthy diet.

    Kennedy agrees. “There is no one food that can be added to an unhealthy diet to ‘cure all evils,'” she says. “So while tofu can absolutely have health benefits, it’s not a free ticket to eat as much fast food as you want the rest of the time.”

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    A Simple Tasty Tofu Recipe

    A novice to tofu? Try this super-simple recipe from Pritikins award-winning Executive Chef Anthony Stewart. This is one of my favorites, I must admit, he laughs.

    Chef Anthony adds these healthy little tofu squares to soups, marinara sauces, and whole grain dishes, like quinoa. They also make a great snack.

    Chef Anthony takes a block of firm tofu , and picks it up and squeezes it with both hands to let some of the water out.

    Then, as if hes cutting up a loaf of bread, he slices his tofu into about four ¾-inch-thick slices, and marinates his slices in balsamic vinegar, chopped garlic, and dried oregano for 4 to 5 minutes.

    He heats a large nonstick skillet over a high flame, and, using tongs, places his tofu slices in the skillet. When the side facing the skillet is darkened, he flips the tofu to the other side and darkens it, too, about 4 minutes per side.

    When the tofu slices are nicely browned on both sides, Chef removes them from the skillet, and slices each into bite-size squares.

    I store them in a baggie in the refrigerator, and I use them for everything, smiles Chef. You know how people say, Oh, Im having a salad, but I need some protein like chicken or fish for it. Well, animals arent the only source of protein. Tofu is packed with protein, and so easy! You just toss these little tofu squares into your salad, and youre getting plenty of rich, chewy, filling protein, but with none of the cholesterol and saturated fat of animal protein.

    You’ll Get Your Fair Share Of Protein

    Are Vegan Cholesterol Levels Too Low?

    The suggested serving size of tofu is 100 grams , which contains 8 grams of protein .

    When it comes to judging the proteins, scientists look at the number of amino acids the protein contains . While meat tends to be a complete protein , most plant-based proteins are incomplete proteins. Not so with tofu! Tofu, like meat, contains all nine essential amino acids .

    It has more protein per cup than milk , and eating just a cup of tofu will bring you to about half of the recommended daily allowance .

    Also, given that tofu contains just 100 calories for every 11 grams of protein and only five grams of fat per every half cup, it’s a low calorie and low-fat way to take in protein as well.

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