Soy supplement shows no blood pressure benefit

Updated 29 May 2012
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Soy supplement shows no blood pressure benefit

Soy-rich diets have been linked to lower rates of heart disease, but soy supplements alone may not do anything for older women’s blood pressure, according to a US study.
The findings, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, add to the mixed evidence on the health benefits of soy isoflavones — compounds that are thought to have weak estrogen-like effects in some body tissue.
Researchers have long known that Asian populations with soy-rich diets have lower rates of heart disease compared with people who eat “Western” diets, but it has not been clear whether soy isoflavone supplements have cardiovascular benefits, such as cutting blood pressure or cholesterol levels.
A number of studies have found that intravenous infusions of soy isoflavones may boost the body’s production of nitric oxide and help blood vessels dilate.
“But we don’t take soy by infusion,” said William Wong, a nutrition researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who led the study.
On top of that, he told Reuters Health, those studies looked at short-term effects on blood vessel function, and not whether there are “sustained” benefits for blood pressure.
So for their study, Wong and his colleagues randomly assigned 24 menopausal women to take either soy isoflavones or placebo tablets for six weeks. The supplement gave a daily dose of 80 milligrams of isoflavones.
All of the women started the study with moderately elevated blood pressure. After six weeks, Wong’s team found that women on the soy supplement were faring no better than those on the placebo.
On average, systolic blood pressure was 136 mm/Hg in the placebo group, and 137 mm/Hg in the soy group. Systolic blood pressure is the first number in a blood-pressure reading, and levels of 140 mm/Hg or above are considered high.
As for diastolic blood pressure, the average in both groups landed at about 80 mm/Hg, or the upper threshold of “normal.” Wong’s team also did special blood tests to see whether the soy supplement affected the women’s production of nitric oxide, a chemical that dilates blood vessels. They found no effect.
“It was disappointing,” Wong said.
While the study only lasted for six weeks, Wong said that the time period should have been long enough to detect blood pressure benefits if there were any.
“If we didn’t see anything in six weeks, we doubt there would be effects (longer term),” he said.
He said that the health benefits linked to soy in Asian populations may be the result of a lifetime of eating those foods and taking supplements later in life may simply not have enough of an impact.
“I think that if people are looking for a magic bullet against high blood pressure, this is not it,” he added.
FROM: REUTERS


Family favorites: Toto’s famous spaghetti and meatballs soup

Updated 21 May 2018
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Family favorites: Toto’s famous spaghetti and meatballs soup

This hearty dish is the middle point between spaghetti and meatballs and soup. It is a family favorite in my household, my kids love it and ask for seconds — and thirds sometimes! As any mother of picky eaters knows, this is a dream come true and I promise you, this soup will have your kids slurping from the bowl.

I was first introduced to this delicious meal by my mother-in-law, whom we affectionately call Toto, and ever since then, it’s become known as Toto’s famous spaghetti and meatballs soup in our home.

It is perfect for a satisfying iftar dish, so why not try it today?

 

Ingredients:

Store bought spaghetti (Toto makes hers from scratch. If you can do that, kudos to you, if not just use store bought spaghetti).

Two peeled potatoes cut into large cubes.

Half-a-pound of minced meat.

One onion, chopped finely.

Six ripe tomatoes and two  tablespoons of tomato paste.

Five garlic cloves, crushed.

A handful of chopped coriander leaves.

 

 Method:

Combine the tomatoes and tomato paste with one liter of water in a blender, with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture into a big pot on the stovetop and bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to let it simmer.  

In a separate bowl, add the minced meat, onions and garlic, with a dash of salt and pepper. Mix until well incorporated and roll into small meatballs.

Cook the meatballs through in a sizzling, oiled pan. Transfer the meatballs into the pot with the simmering tomato soup.

Add the peeled potatoes that have been cut into chunks into the soup.

Let it cook for 10 minutes and add the spaghetti. Continue to cook the dish until the spaghetti is al dente and serve with a garnish of freshly chopped coriander leaves.