The beneficial effects of soy have been known for a very long time, especially in the Eastern cultures. Today, many scientific studies have confirmed that the consumption of soy can prevent many health problems, including the ones that typically affect the women.
Prevention of breast cancer
There seems to be a link between consumption of soy products and the prevention of breast cancer. There are many experimental studies on that matter, but the positive effect of soy in cases of breast cancer was never evaluated in an epidemiological study.
However, a study performed by five American research institutes and one in China has confirmed that the consumption of soy during teenage years may reduce the risk of breast cancer later in life. This is probably because the breast tissue is the most sensitive to various environmental effects in the adolescence, which is a stage when the mammary glands are developing.
Soy and weight loss
Several studies focused on the effects of soy on the weight. The studies were mainly performed on rats, and their results suggested that the increase of soy consumption may have a positive effect on weight loss. It is believed that legumes, all of them and not just soy, can prevent obesity and even the type 2 diabetes. Legumes have a low glycaemic index, high fiber and low fat, which is beneficial for the gastrointestinal health, for the heart and for the weight.
Soy and menopause
Menopause, which is the time after the last menstrual period, resembles the adolescence because of all the hormonal changes that take place in a woman’s body. This leads to many symptoms, among which the palpitations and the hot flashes are probably the most prominent.
It was observed some time ago that Japanese women suffer much less from hot flashes than the women in the West. It was concluded that this had something to do with the amount of soy they traditionally eat. Isoflavones are the main component in soybeans and the daily intake of isoflavones among Japanese women generally ranges from 50 to 100 milligrams. For example, green soybeans contain 100 milligrams of isoflavones in one cup, and a cup of tofu contains 50 milligrams.
For this reason, many doctors recommend their patients who are going through menopause to increase the intake of soy products. Soy comes in many forms, from beans and foods made of beans to tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt and even soy ice cream. These products can be found in any supermarket and they are generally quite inexpensive. Soy can also be taken in form of capsules, as a supplement designed especially for the women going through menopause.