Higher soy intake and having a balanced diet can help reduce risk of death, said a study result made public Thursday by the University of Hong Kong.
The university's faculty of medicine conducted a study which captured 81 percent of the death case in Hong Kong in 1998. Researchers collected information on eating habits of the deaths 10 years earlier, as well as that of similar living people of the same age.
The results show that people with a higher soy intake had a lower risk of death. Those who ate soy four or more times per week had about 30 percent lower risk of death compared with those who ate soy less than once per month.
It is also revealed in the results that people with high intakes of less healthy food like meat and dairy products and less intake of healthy food including vegetables, fruits, fish, soy and tea, had about 113 percent higher risk of death than those who had a balanced diet.
Head of the university's department of community medicine Professor Lam Tai-hing said that soy is rich in protein and fiber and can help reduce the chance of having cancer and heart disease.
Lam suggested member of the public to intake nutrients provided by soy through eating food like tofu and soy milk, rather than directly taking soy extracts.
Addressing the problem of Hong Kong people having a diet with more meat than vegetables, Lam suggested people to have vegetables and fruits before eating meat during every meal.
"There is little evidence that high intake of meat and milk are harmful to health" if the same amount of healthy food are being consumed, Lam explained, adding that the bad effects of those less healthy food which might have on our body can be counteracted.
The above study results were published in 2006 in two renowned international medical journals -- Preventive Medicine and International Journal of Epidemiology.
(Xinhua News Agency January 19, 2007)