What is Soy?
Soy is a type of protein that is made from soybeans. Soybeans originated in Asia, and have been used there for over 5000 years. The extraction of this protein was done manually in Asian countries, but because of its popularity, soy protein extraction has now become large-scale and industrialized. Soybean is now grown all over the world with over 2500 varieties of the legume. Soy is popular because it is an affordable high source of protein. Soy is not usually eaten as pure protein but is used to make other products like tempeh, miso, tofu, and vegetarian meats. Dairy alternatives like soy milk, soy yogurt, and soy cheese are also made from this soybean extract.
Soy and Menopause
Menopause is the time of life when a woman experiences a number of symptoms that sometimes make it difficult to lead a normal life. These symptoms can affect a woman’s physical, emotional and sometimes mental well-being. A number of women have turned to natural remedies to relieve these symptoms because of the negative side effects of menopausal drugs. One of these natural remedies is soy in its various forms. This protein directly alleviates a number of menopausal symptoms, leading to symptomatic relief for a better quality of life for the menopausal woman.
Discover How Soy and Menopause Interact?
Soy has been touted as a superfood that is very high in phytonutrients, antioxidants, protein, and omega-3. The phytonutrients in soy, known as isoflavones, have a positive effect on menopausal symptoms. Two of the soybean’s isoflavones – genistein and daidzein – have been found to be the most effective for relieving the menopause. These soy isoflavones are phytoestrogens, a hormone that mimics the function of estrogen in a woman’s body. Hence this estrogen-like function from soy isoflavones works to alleviate menopausal symptoms that have resulted from fluctuating levels of estrogen in the woman’s body.
Benefits and Side Effects of Soy
Soy is not only effective for the alleviation of menopausal symptoms but also lowers the bad cholesterol in the body. It is also effective in lowering blood pressure through the magnesium found in soy. Magnesium works by regulating blood pressure. Soy is also used to prevent cancer, and some research studies have confirmed its positive effect in this regard for hormone-related types of cancers. People who use soy for just six months can already experience the health benefits of this legume. There are a few side effects of soy which come about as a result of taking too much soy or using soy that has not been prepared in the appropriate way. These side effects include soy allergies, hypothyroidism which can cause weight gain and reducing the body’s absorption of certain minerals.
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How to Eat Soy so that it Helps?
All things in moderation apply to all good food, including soy. Although there are many health benefits of soy for menopausal women (and for people of all ages), if every meal includes a soy product, then there could be serious negative health effects caused by the soy. In order to eat soy so that it helps relieve menopausal symptoms, menopausal women should consume soy products about three to five times a week. Research studies have indicated that the most beneficial soy products for menopausal women are soy milk, tempeh, miso, and tofu. Soy isoflavone supplements have also been shown to be beneficial in alleviating menopausal symptoms.
What Can Soy Offer Women in Menopause?
Women in menopause often suffer from a number of symptoms. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, most medicinal drugs do not offer sufficient relief to lead a normal life. Soy, on the other hand, offers symptomatic relief for menopausal women, especially for those symptoms which are directly linked to lower estrogen levels. Women who use soy products on a regular basis can expect to have lower frequencies and severity of hot flashes as well as a lower risk for osteoporosis.
How Soy Works in the Menopausal Body?
Although soy is mostly a protein, its positive effect on a menopausal woman is not as a result of the protein. Instead, soy works in a menopausal body through the isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens. These work in a menopausal body in the same way as estrogens, thereby decreasing menopausal symptoms that come about as a direct result of lower estrogen levels.
Soy Helps Menopausal Symptoms
There are a number of menopausal symptoms that soy alleviates directly. Several research studies report that the most common menopausal symptom that can be reduced using soy is hot flashes. Soy also offers protection against bone loss that is related to menopause. If this symptom is untreated, it eventually leads to osteoporosis. Soy also helps lower LDL cholesterol (the bad one) and increases the good or LDL cholesterol in the body by lowering blood fat concentrations.
Does Eating Soy Prevent Menopausal Weight Gain?
Menopausal weight gain is one of the many symptoms of fluctuating hormone levels in the body. Women who suffer from this usually have not had any weight problems throughout their lives and gradually see an increase in body weight. Soy foods have lower calories than most other types of food with the same nutrient density, making soy an ideal dietary inclusion for women experiencing weight gain as a result of menopause. It should be noted, however, that a high intake of soy protein could have the opposite effect. So the intake should be regulated.
Does Soy help Cool Hot Flashes After All?
Researchers observed that Japanese women had a much lower occurrence of hot flashes, which was attributed to their high soy diet. This high soy consumption starts while they are still in the womb, and continues throughout their lives. A number of wide scales research studies have confirmed these observations, indicating that soy can help lessen the frequency of hot flashes in menopausal women. The studies also recommend that women who have not taken soy before can still experience the benefits of this protein if they start taking it during menopause. Hence, scientific research has proven that soy does cool hot flashes.
A Final Word about Soy and Menopause
Menopause can be a crippling condition that stops a woman from experiencing the quality of life. For those women who are aware of the health risks of hormone replacement drugs to relieve menopausal symptoms, and would like to try a natural option, then soy is the answer. It should be noted, however, that any menopausal symptom treatment should be taken in moderation. It should also be supplemented with a good diet and a regular exercise program.