|Phytoestrogen found in soy foods may decrease the rate of bone loss because of their estrogenlike activity. They can be protective to the cardiovascular system by decreasing high cholesterol levels. They also help allay osteoporosis, and are also able to help control some symptoms of menopause.
Soy is the most well studied of foods containing phytoestrogens, and is the source of several very important substances such as the isoflavones, genistein, and daidzein. As well as decreasing cancer risks, soy has the ability to help prevent osteoporosis and, possibly, autoimmune diseases.
Since phytoestrogens have an antagonist effect, the decreased risk of autoimmune disease should come as no surprise. It is well-known that women have a higher incidence of autoimmune diseases than men, and that estrogens are believed to play a role in these conditions.
The isoflavones, genistein, and daidzein could prevent postmenopausal bone loss and osteoporosis. In animal studies, genistein is as effective as steroid estrogens in preserving bone. Even synthetic isoflavones, such as ipriflavone, are able to reduce bone loss in animals with osteoporosis and show great promise for the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Animal research demonstrates that soybean phytoestrogens do not have any estrogenic activity in the uterus and vagina, and exert antagonist activity by reducing uterine cell stimulation by supplemented steroid hormones.
The implications are that women on hormone replacement would benefit from taking soy based phytoestrogens. A healthful diet that includes regular intake of legumes may result in a decreased risk of endometrial cancer. In addition to decreasing risks of breast cancer, uterine cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis, soy can relief some of the more immediate discomforts of menopause.
Based on a 1991, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, estimates that 1 cup of soybeans provides about 300 mg of plant estrogens called isoflavones the equivalent of about 45 mg of conjugated estrogens, as potent as a low to medium dose of the prescribed estrogen, Premarin.
Research also suggests that switching to certain drugless therapies can also contribute to managing and treating these diseases once they have occurred. Certain nutritional supplements may protect the body from the harmful effects like bone loss and heart ailments.
Soy foods are a good source of protein and it's becoming easier and more pleasant to eat some everyday, preferably in place of animal foods. There are now several types of tofu or soy burgers on the market, flavoured and unflavoured soy milks (they work in shakes, on cereals, in cooking, and even in hot beverages such as tea), in addition to low-fat versions of tofu in firm, regular, and soft consistencies.
Some soy foods may have more plant estrogens than others. Many women have reported relief of menopausal symptoms when they eat these foods.