(HealthDay News) -- Soy nuts may help lower blood pressure in postmenopausal women, a new U.S. study finds.
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston studied 60 healthy women -- 12 with high blood pressure (140/90 milligrams of mercury or higher) and 48 with normal blood pressure. All the women ate two kinds of diets for eight weeks each.
One was the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet, which consisted of 30 percent of calories from fat (with 7 percent or less from saturated fat), 15 percent from protein, and 55 percent from carbohydrates, 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day, two meals of fatty fish (such as salmon or tuna) per week, and less than 200 milligrams of cholesterol a day.
The other diet had the same calorie, fat and protein content, but the women replaced 25 grams of protein intake with one-half cup of unsalted soy nuts.
"Soy nut supplementation significantly reduced systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure in all 12 hypertensive women and in 40 of the 48 normotensive women," the study authors wrote.
"Compared with the TLC diet alone, the TLC diet plus soy nuts lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure 9.9 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively, in hypertensive women, and 5.2 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively, in normotensive women."
In women with high blood pressure, the soy nuts also decreased levels of low-density lipoprotein ("bad") cholesterol by an average of 11 percent and levels of apoliprotein B (a particle that carries bad cholesterol) by an average of 8 percent.
The study was published in the May 28 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about high blood pressure and how to lower it.