If you're health conscious, you may already know that the medical community is raving about soy's disease-fighting reputation. It's been linked to combating some of women's biggest health threats: high cholesterol, cancer, and osteoporosis. Soy may also be used to raise estrogen levels and ward off the symptoms of menopause. Keep reading to find out how soy can benefit menopausal women.
Isoflavones: Soy's Key Ingredient
Soy should be a staple in any diet, because it is rich in protein and isoflavones, a class of organic compounds known for their antioxidant and disease-fighting properties. For menopausal women, isoflavones are a critical component in balancing hormone levels, because they contain plant-based estrogens known as phytoestrogens. These plants mimic the effects of estrogen when introduced into the female body.
Soy phytoestrogens bind to estrogen receptors and bolster the effects of estrogen in menopausal women. These newly balanced hormone levels provide relief from menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, loss of libido, and mood swings. Phytoestrogens can also help fight the onset of osteoporosis by moving calcium from the blood to the bones.
Introducing soy into your diet and lifestyle is easy and convenient for women suffering from low estrogen levels during menopause. A wave of soy products has hit the supermarket shelves in recent years. Shoppers can swap all of their favorite products in favor of soy, from milk and cheese to burgers and breads.
Many foods are naturally rich in soy. The most popular sources of soy are soy beans, tofu, tempeh, and soy milk. Additionally, soy is found in non-edible products like candles, soaps, and cosmetics. Unfortunately, while soy sauce can be a tasty flavoring for your favorite meals, it is not a significant source of soy, due to its high sodium content.
Soy offers numerous health benefits for women, including treatment for low estrogen levels and menopausal symptoms. However, women with food allergies should beware; soy is one of the eight top foods responsible for most food allergies.
While most experts agree that soy provides a safe alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for low estrogen levels, women should be aware of soy's potential side effects. Some studies have suggested that soy is linked with infertility, breast cancer, and thyroid disease. You should consult with your doctor before introducing soy into your diet.