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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2001;10(2):128-33.

Candidate foods in the asia-pacific region for cardiovascular protection: nuts, soy, lentils and tempe.

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SEAMEO-TROPMED Regional Center for Community Nutrition, University of Indonesia, Jakarta.


Cross-cultural and intervention studies increasingly point the way to seeds like nuts, soy and lentils, and products of them like tempe being cardioprotective. Soy and its products (like tofu, tempe, soy drinks and soy desserts) are historically and currently some of the most important foods in the Asian region where diets remain predominantly plant-based. The mechanisms by which these seeds may protect populations against cardiovascular disease are several. They include the minimisation of classical risk factors like positive energy balance leading to obesity, hypertension. dyslipidemia and insulin resistance with hyperglycaemia. However, in addition, they provide compounds like n-3 fatty acids, isoflavones and arginine which are only now recognised for their ability to optimise other pathways which connect lifestyle to cardiovascular disease--like oxidant status, vascular reactivity and myocardial electrical stability and proneness to dysrhythmia. Thus, once an Asian food culture changes on its emphasis on these plant foods, it may place its consumers at cardiovascular risk.

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