Issue: May 2020
Perspective from Ian J. Neeland, MD, FAHA
Source/Disclosures
Disclosures: Neeland reports he is an associate editor of Circulation who reviewed the present manuscript before publication.
March 23, 2020
2 min read
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Tofu, isoflavones may decrease CHD risk

Issue: May 2020
Perspective from Ian J. Neeland, MD, FAHA
Source/Disclosures
Disclosures: Neeland reports he is an associate editor of Circulation who reviewed the present manuscript before publication.
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Qi Sun

Eating higher quantities of tofu and isoflavones lowers the risk for CHD, especially in young women or postmenopausal women who do not use hormones, according to a study published in Circulation.

“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,” Qi Sun, MD, ScD, researcher in the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a press release. “If their diet is packed with unhealthy foods such as red meat, sugary beverages and refined carbohydrates, they should switch to healthier alternatives. Tofu and other isoflavone-rich, plant-based foods are excellent protein sources and alternatives to animal proteins.”

Researchers analyzed data from 74,241 women from the Nurses’ Health Study, 94,233 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II and 42,226 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who did not have CVD and cancer at baseline. Food frequency questionnaires were completed every 2 to 4 years to collect data on lifestyle factors, diet, anthropometric factors, family history of MI and other information.

The primary endpoint was incident CHD, defined as fatal CHD and nonfatal MI.

There were 8,359 cases of incident CHD during 4,826,122 person-years of follow-up. Isoflavone intake was inversely associated with CHD in multivariable adjusted analyses (pooled HR = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.81-0.94).

Tofu consumption was inversely associated with CHD risk (HR = 0.82; 95% CI, 0.7-0.95) when comparing one or more servings per week with less than one serving per month. This association was not observed for the consumption of soy milk (HR = 0.88; 95% CI, 0.69-1.11).

The favorable association of tofu with CHD risk was more favorable in women compared with men, which may have been driven by a stronger inverse association of tofu intake in young women before menopause and in postmenopausal women who did not use hormones (P for interaction = .002).

“While these associations warrant replications in other populations as well as in intervention studies on CVD risk factors, our data overall imply that tofu and other soy products could be incorporated into an overall healthy plant-based diets to facilitate the prevention of CHD,” Sun and colleagues wrote. – by Darlene Dobkowski

Disclosures: The authors reported no relevant financial disclosures.