Is Soy Milk Good for High Blood Pressure?

Soy products including soy milk contain some essential nutrients for the body. Many studies have learned the health advantages of dietary soy. Some showed that it may help lower high blood pressure, particularly in African-Americans. It may also promote positive effect on your cardiovascular system. If you have hypertension (high blood pressure), is it good to help improve and treat the problem?

The essential nutrients in soy milk

Soy milk is one of yummy and popular products of soy. It is derived not from animal but from plant (soaked soybeans) – the key that differs it from regular milk such as cow’s milk.

It can be one of good choices for dietary alternatives, especially if you are a vegetarian. It can provide some health benefits for both women and men because it contains many essential minerals and vitamins that can be great for your overall health.

image_illustration46It is rich in calcium, contains some vitamin B, relatively lower in fat if compared with cow’s milk, zero in cholesterol, and high in isoflavones (an organic compound that is believed as the key of why soy is good for the health of your heart).

However, it also contains some calories. Though its calories content is relatively lower than regular milk, it can make you gain more weight if you consume it too much.

So, make sure to drink it in moderation. 8 oz. a cup of soy milk can contain about 79 to 130 calories –unfortified soy milk is typically lower in calories than fortified type.

Is it good for high blood pressure?

According to a report published at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting in 2012, the essential nutrient medically called isoflavones found in soy may help reduce the force of blood against the artery wall (this force is what we call as blood pressure).

The study involved about 5,000 participants who were followed almost 20 years.

The result showed that people who took diet high in isoflavones had lower blood pressure. Their systolic pressure (blood pressure when the heart is contracting) was 5.5 points lower than people who ate less isoflavones.

How does isoflavones of soy milk help lower systolic pressure?

This organic compound can help increase the production of NO (nitric oxide) by triggering the body to produce more enzymes that make nitric oxide. And nitric oxide is a substance that can help make the blood vessels widen.

The dilation of blood vessels means there will be decreased pressure against the blood vessel walls because the way for the blood to flow gets larger. As a result, eventually these mechanisms can help reduce the systolic blood pressure.

In addition, nitric oxide also can help relax the blood vessels.

Why do African-Americans take the most advantage of isoflavones?

Researchers think that eating soy products such as soy milk can provide more impact of lowering blood pressure in African-Americans than in whites. E

Endothelial dysfunction may the key answer. It is less common in whites but more common in African-Americans. It is a condition when the body is poor in producing and using nitric oxide.

And in hypertensive African-Americans, endothelial dysfunction often has a significant contribution to make systolic pressure rise higher than normal.

Nevertheless, researchers think that both whites and African-American can take the health benefit of isoflavones in helping to lower blood pressure.

How much you should eat?

Experts recommend moderate amounts of soy products such as tofu, edamame, and low-fat soy milk in well-balanced diet to help decrease the chance of developing hypertension.

Generally, it’s recommended to get 1-2 servings of fermented or/and whole soy foods, according to an article published in the official site of Doctor Oz. 1 cup of soy milk or 1/2 cup of tofu is one average serving.

Remember, though soy products are commonly considered as healthy foods, but they also contain calories. As mentioned before, if you eat them too much, this can be potential to cause overweight.

And obesity and overweight is a risk factor of high blood pressure. So again, make sure to eat them in moderation!

If you have hypertension, could you use soy milk to help improve the problem?

Moderately eating soy products like free-fat soy milk – in combination with foods recommended in DASH diet (the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) such as whole grains, low-fat dairy, foods low in saturated fats, fruits, and vegetables – can help improve high blood pressure in hypertensive people.

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