Expert recommends beans ‘comparable’ to a statin for cholesterol reduction

This Morning's Dr Chris discusses the signs of high cholesterol

Whether it’s crispy tofu cubes hiding in a creamy curry or crunchy edamame beans dotted around a fresh salad, soya beans offer more than a versatile base for different recipes.

Rich in essential amino acids, good fats, vitamins and minerals, soya also packs a punch of potent health properties.

What’s more, the foods can also bust your cholesterol by as much as 70 percent, according to research.

Dr Justine Butler, head of research at Viva!, said: “We have known for years that soya protein can help reduce cholesterol, which can build up in the arteries and form plaques that increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke.”

While soybeans have been long touted for their cholesterol-lowering properties, research, published in the journal Antioxidants, found just how impressive the beans are.

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Dr Butler explained that the cholesterol reduction linked to flour made out of soybeans in the study was “comparable” to a statin.

She said: “Scientists have identified the two main proteins in soya that help lower cholesterol.

“They are called β-conglycinin and glycinin and taken together, they make up around 70 percent of the protein found in soya foods such as tofu and soya milk.

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“The soya bean digests were also able to reduce lipid accumulation by 50-70 percent, comparable to the statin used, which reduced it by 60 percent.”

The findings showed that the higher the amount of β-conglycinin, the higher the reduction in oxidised “bad” cholesterol.

“The authors suggest that β-conglycinin is key to soya’s reputation of lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol,” Dr Butler added.

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While the research team didn’t specify which soya foods are the best sources of this potent protein, another study offers a suggestion for what to eat.

A 2019 review, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that 25 grams of soya protein a day can help lower “bad” cholesterol by “small but significant amount”.

“You can get that 25 grams from a portion of tofu or tempeh, plus an additional 200 ml of soya milk or 80 grams of edamame beans,” the expert added.

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