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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

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Nutty Perk for Women's Blood Pressure

Soy Nuts May Help Lower Women's Blood Pressure
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 30, 2007 -- When it comes to lowering blood pressure, soy nuts may be a smart snack for women, a new study suggests.

Never heard of soy nuts? They're dry-roasted soybeans. Like other soy foods, they contain nutrients called isoflavones, along with 8 grams of fat and 240 calories in a half cup.

The new study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, included 60 healthy postmenopausal women who were 53-58 years old, on average.

At the study's start, 12 of the women had high blood pressure. They tended to be a little heavier than the 48 other women with normal blood pressure based on average BMI (body mass index), which relates height to weight.

High blood pressure makes heart disease and a host of other health problems more likely.

Soy Nut Snacks

During the study, the women spent eight weeks on a healthy diet that didn't include soy nuts. After that, they took a blood pressure test.

The women also spent another eight weeks on the same healthy diet. But this time, they replaced some of their protein with half a cup of unsalted soy nuts, split into three or four portions spread throughout the day.

Finally, the women took one more blood pressure test.

The women's blood pressure was lowest after eight weeks of snacking on soy nuts, even for those who started the study with normal blood pressure.

For the 12 women who had high blood pressure at the study's start, average systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading) dropped by nearly 10% and average diastolic blood pressure (the second number in a blood pressure reading) dropped by almost 7% after eight weeks of snacking on soy nuts.

For the other 48 women who had normal blood pressure at the study's start, average systolic blood pressure dropped by about 5% and average diastolic blood pressure dropped by 3% after eight weeks of snacking on soy nuts.

Women with high blood pressure also had an 11% drop in levels of their LDL ("bad") cholesterol after snacking on the soy nuts for eight weeks. No cholesterol benefits were seen in the women with normal blood pressure.

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