Soy may contribute to heart health through a process of “decreased platelet aggregation”, according to research commissioned by the United Soybean Board. By reducing the density of platelet receptors, isoflavones, a naturally occurring component of soy, may reduce the risk of blood clotting, thus decreasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

According to the study, published in the journal Maturitas, researchers recruited post-menopausal women to take part in the double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study. The study randomly assigned the participants to receive a daily supplement of isoflavones or an identical placebo for three months. At the end of the three-month period, the group receiving the isoflavone supplement showed a significant decrease in the density of a particular platelet receptor, while the placebo group remained mostly unchanged.

Lisa Kelly, a dietician speaking on behalf of the United Soybean Board, said: “These findings are significant because they suggest a new understanding of the ways in which soy isoflavones may positively effect cardiovascular health.

“Previous research has shown that soy offers a modest reduction of LDL cholesterol – the bad cholesterol – which may help reduce the risk of heart disease by 10% on a population-wide basis. There are also studies linking soy to lowered blood pressure. This study uniquely demonstrates that soy may contribute to heart health through a reduced risk of blood clotting as well, and therefore a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.”