BACKGROUND - Several small-scale clinical trials have suggested a potential beneficial effect of short-term soy consumption on blood pressure (BP). Data are scanty on long-term effects of the usual intake of soy foods on BP in general populations.
OBJECTIVE - Our aim was to examine the association between usual intake of soy foods and BP.
DESIGN - The usual intake of soy foods was assessed at baseline, and BP was measured 2-3 y after the baseline survey among 45 694 participants of the Shanghai Women's Health Study aged 40-70 y who had no history of hypertension, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease at recruitment. Multiple regression models were used to estimate mean differences in BP associated with various intakes of soy foods.
RESULTS - Soy protein intake was inversely associated with both systolic BP (P for trend = 0.01) and diastolic BP (P for trend = 0.009) after adjustment for age, body mass index, and lifestyle and other dietary factors. The adjusted mean systolic BP was 1.9 mm Hg lower (95% CI: -3.0, -0.8 mm Hg) and the diastolic BP was 0.9 mm Hg lower (-1.6, -0.2 mm Hg) in women who consumed > or =25 g soy protein/d than in women consuming <2.5 g/d. The inverse associations became stronger with increasing age (P for interaction < 0.05 for both BPs). Among women >60 y old, the corresponding differences were -4.9 mm Hg (95% CI: -8.0, -1.9 mm Hg) for systolic BP and -2.2 mm Hg (95% CI: -3.8, -0.6 mm Hg) for diastolic BP.
CONCLUSION - Usual intake of soy foods was inversely associated with both systolic and diastolic BPs, particularly among elderly women.