Hearts everywhere received good news recently as more potential heart-health benefits for soy were announced.
The United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean checkoff remain in the forefront of keeping soy a top-of-mind, healthy product with consumers not only by promoting soyfoods but also by continually working to solve the concern of trans fats in edible oils.
According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Hong Kong and published in the European Heart Journal compounds found naturally in soy, known as isoflavones, increase artery and heart health. The study was conducted on patients with a history of stroke and high cholesterol. The results were measured by artery diameter and cholesterol levels.
Not only is this good news for soybeans and overall health, it’s especially beneficial for Americans, whose leading causes of death are heart disease (No. 1) and stroke (No. 3) according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The soybean checkoff is always looking for more new uses for soybeans,” says Jim Stillman, a soybean farmer and United Soybean Board (USB) director from Emmetsburg, Iowa.
“Anytime research about benefits of soybeans comes out, it’s terrific news for soybean farmers.”
This isn’t the first time soy has been credited with aiding heart health. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) soy and heart-health claim, 25 grams of soy protein per day may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Soyfoods with the heart-health claim on the packaging must contain 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving.
A serving of soy can be achieved by snacking on a half cup of edamame, pouring a cup of soymilk over cereal or adding a cup of soy nuts to a salad. Mark Messina, director of the Soy Nutrition Institute, suggests that consumers try to find soyfoods they enjoy and add them to their regular diet.
To make sure that soy oil is healthy as well, the checkoff has invested in research to develop low-linolenic soybeans that produce oils that provide a solution to trans fat. These advancements saved a portion of the edible-oil market share for soybean farmers and the entire soy industry. The soybean checkoff has assisted in solving the trans-fat problem through researching trans-fat effects on human health, developing initiatives such as QUALISOY to bring the entire value chain together, and by mapping the soybean genome to give researchers the tools to develop healthier soybeans.
USB is made up of 68 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.