menopause

Soy and Women’s Health

Posted on January 10, 2010. Filed under: cancer, heart disease, menopause, osteoporosis, soy foods | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Soy foods are attractive for women who cannot or will not use hormone replacement therapy.  Evidence has been shown that soy food intake can have the following benefits for women:

  • Decreased risk for heart disease:  For more information, check out the blog, “Soy for your Heart.”
  • Decrease in menopausal symptoms
  • Protection from osteoporosis
  • Lower risk of breast cancer
  • Lower risk of death and breast cancer recurrence in breast cancer patients

Research has found soy foods useful to treat menopause symptoms.  The two major phytoestrogens found in soy, genistein and daidzein, have been shown to mimic the effects of estradiole (the major human female estrogen) and tamoxifen (an antiestrogen used to protect against the spread of breast cancer).  Genistein has a mix of antiestrogen and proestrogen effects that help reduce menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women and protect against osteoporosis.  Asian women have less osteoporosis than Western women even though the calcium intake of Asian women is lower; research suggests that this is due to the increased soy intake of Asian women.      

In addition, genistein has been shown to inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells in test tubes, and it slows the activity of several proteins that speed up tumor growth.  According to the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study that was recently published, women in China who had breast cancer and a higher intake of soy food had an associated lower risk of death and breast cancer recurrence.  The study concluded, “Soy food intake is safe and was associated with lower mortality and recurrence among breast cancer patients.”  The study suggests that intake of 11 grams per day of soy offers protective benefits for long-term health. 

For more information on breast health and the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study click on the following link:  http://www.soyconference.com/magazines/jan10.pdf  

So, enjoy soy milk on your cereal and in your coffee and tea.  Have soy nuts as a tasty snack or select an energy bar with soy protein.  Be chic and enjoy a healthy soy burger with all the trimmings.  The choices are out there and making a healthy choice will feel great.     

With Lacey Lamb

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