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Soy and menopause

Guest Author - Tammy Elizabeth Southin

If youíre dealing with menopause symptoms, you might want to rethink shunning that hard to swallow tofu. Soybeans and the products they are made into are increasingly touted as the new wonder beans. More women than ever are pouring soy milk on their cereal and snapping up cookbooks dedicated to tofu. Should you trade in your favorite meat burgers and stock the freezer with soy? Increasing your soy consumption may help fend off those menopausal symptoms; letís take a further look at this alternative to traditional hormone replacement therapy.

Soy types
There are three types of soy out there:

Soy protein is what comes to mind for most people and is the general catch-all term for this meat-free protein source. Traditionally, Asian cultures have consumed a lot of soy in their diets. This has researchers interested in seeking out possible connections between a diet rich in soy protein and fewer menopausal symptoms in Asian women compared to North American women. Think of tofu and soy milk as examples.

Soy phytoestrogen refers to a substance in soy that is very similar to estrogen and performs in much the same way. This is why some women take soy to help deal with hot flashes and night sweats. Phytoestrogens, marketed by various companies, are not estrogen but about as close as you can get without the usual side effects generally associated with traditional estrogen therapy.

Soy isoflavones are very also found in soy and are very similar to phytoestrogens. Many types of plants contain isoflavones (such as black cohosh) that act in the same way as estrogen treatments. Soy isoflavones are found in abundance in soy beans and legumes.

Soy benefits
None of these benefits are absolute or conclusive, but researches are studying the effects of soy in various areas that menopausal women experience.
Soy protein is believed to reduce the risk of heart disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that consuming 25 grams of soy every day is beneficial to heart health.

Both soy phytoestrogens and soy isoflavones are reported to help reduce the suffering associated with menopause and peri-menopause. Some women indicate that they suffered from fewer hot flashes. Additional early research points to possible decreased risks of developing breast cancer and osteoporosis.

How much soy is 25 grams?
Most medical experts agree that getting nutrients from natural sources is best. To meet the 25 grams of soy per day, this works out to about Ĺ cup dried soy beans, or 1 cup of tofu.

If the thought of tofu is just too much, try using soy protein powder in your foods or cooking; just two tablespoons will give you about 20 grams of soy. Some other items to try include soy burgers; breakfast cereals enriched with soy, or roasted soy nuts. Remember to check the labels carefully to know how much soy and what type you are getting.

A soy caution
As with any substance, you can have too much of a good thing. What the body cannot use is eliminated via the kidneys. If you are prone to having kidney stones, avoid ingesting high amounts of soy. In fact anyone should avoid overdoing the soy because of the risk for developing kidney stones. Just a little soy will go a long way.

For those looking for soy in an easier to swallow form, ensure that the product you select provides no more than 160 milligrams per daily dosage.

Soy alone will not compensate for a lifestyle that includes poor dietary habits and lack of exercise. But including soy as a part of your health care regimen to ward off menopausal and peri-menopausal symptoms might be beneficial. Talk to your doctor to see if soy is right for you and then break out the tofu burgers!

Still need some more info? Please check out the following websites for more information:
www.toronto.ca/health/pdf/nm_joyofsoy.pdf
www.menopauserx.com/health_center/com_SoyProtein.htm

Menopause, Your Doctor, and You
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Content copyright © 2014 by Tammy Elizabeth Southin. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Tammy Elizabeth Southin. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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