Long-term consumption of soy products dramatically cuts down the risk of ischemic stroke, according to new research.

Ischemic stroke is the most common kind of stroke, caused by an interruption of the blood flow to the brain.

The research found people who consumed 50 grams of soy products a week reduced stroke risk. Those who ate between 50 to 300 grams of soy had a greater drop still, while those consuming 300 grams or more a week had the most health benefits.

As stroke is a major public health problem worldwide, Colin Binns, professor at Curtin University of Technology (CUT), who led the research, said the study could have important international outcomes.

“Stroke kills about five million people a year as well as causing considerable disability so these research findings will have long range health and financial consequences for individuals and governments,” he said.

“This research shows that long-term consumption of soy products can dramatically reduce the risk of ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, accounting for 70 percent of all strokes that occur.

“We found that soybean and soy milk had the biggest benefit on stroke reduction over products like tofu, though consuming any one of these products will be beneficial.”

The research was conducted in 2007-08 in southern China where there was a large, fairly homogenous population that had similar diets and lifestyles and a relatively high stroke rate.

“Even though the study was carried out in southern China, we believe that eating soy products will have the same effect on western diets,” Binns said.

The study was published in Neuroepidemiology.

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