If you’re a postmenopausal woman, soy protein may help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, at least if you eat it during the first few years after menopause.
In a study from the University of Southern California, published in the journal Stroke, 350 postmenopausal women (age 45 to 92) consumed either soy protein (25 grams a day) or a placebo, in powder or bar form, for nearly three years. Every six months ultrasounds were done to measure the thickness of the carotid artery, a sign of atherosclerosis.
Overall, the scans found no significant difference between the two groups, but among women who had gone through menopause during the previous five years, soy reduced the progression of arterial thickening by almost 70 percent.
Soy contains estrogenic compounds that may have cardiovascular benefits only within this “window of opportunity,” the researchers suggested.