Is Soy Safe For Menopause

April 18, 2011

Oh, The Joys of Menopause

If you are perimenopausal or in the throes of menopause you have likely experienced one or all of the symptoms associated with this wonderful time in a woman's life. The hot flashes and cold dashes, the highs and lows, going from sweet to sour in 30 seconds or less, and spending the night staring at the ceiling longing for sleep are all part and parcel of a period of time that can last anywhere from five to fifteen years. Some dear women have to deal with it for a lot longer, a few seem to breeze through.

Dealing with Menopause Symptoms Through Diet

No matter what symptoms you are experiencing, there are a few natural ways to help you manage them that also have great physiological benefits, like strengthening your heart and your bones. The important thing to remember is that there is no "magic bullet" and what works for one woman may not work for another. Also, what works today might not work six months from now. Life is an ongoing experience and experiment, and learning how to help yourself through menopause fits snuggly into this paradigm. If you are embarking on dietary changes for the first time, then we're glad menopause has pushed you to this point. With a few adjustments, you may find that your symptoms are much easier to handle.

Remember What You Heard About Soy?  Well...

There once was a time when soy was paraded as the panacea for women. It has now been shown to be detrimental rather than beneficial. However, having said that, fermented soy products are very good for you. The majority of soy you find in your local supermarket is not the health food you think it is. The beans are genetically modified and contaminated with large pesticide residues from the toxic herbicides used to kill weeds as the crops grow. In the Asian culture people eat very small amounts of whole non-GMO soybean products; they don't eat massive amounts of tofu, drink soy milk, and use soy butter. Western food processors separate the protein and oil, something that is not done in Asia. This makes the foods unsafe.

...It's Just Not Safe: Problems With Soy

Soy has an abundance of isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen that occurs in plants and resembles human estrogen. The isoflavones in soy are genistein and daidzein and they mimic and occasionally block the hormone estrogen causing adverse effects on human tissues. Soy phytoestrogens are now known to disrupt endocrine function which can cause infertility and can promote breast cancer in women.

But, Fermented Soy Foods Are Safe and Good for You

Fermented soy, on the other hand can be very healthy - if it is organic and properly fermented. Proper fermentation reduces the levels of phytate and the beneficial nutrients in soy are able to surface. The primary fermented soy products available in abundance are tempeh, a fermented soybean cake that has a nutty, mushroom-like flavor; miso soybean paste that is salty and has a buttery texture and is most often used in miso soup; natto, fermented soybeans that are sticky in texture and have a very strong, cheese-like flavor (you have to get used to this one); and of course, soy sauce. When buying soy sauce ensure it is made from fermented soybeans, salt and enzymes. There are many on the market made artificially using chemicals. You'll notice that tofu is not on this list.

The Forgotten Vitamin - K2

One of the primary benefits of eating fermented soy, particularly natto, is that it is the best food source for vitamin K2. This vitamin is key to the prevention of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and diseases of the brain like dementia. It also protects you from certain cancers, like lung and liver cancer and leukemia. It acts synergistically with vitamin D to add to your health.

Sometimes referred to as the forgotten vitamin, K2's benefits are often overlooked. The vitamin is named for the word "koagulation", which of course refers to blood clotting. Blood clots can be more safely and effectively dissolved with vitamin K2 than with aspirin.

Many sources prescribed eating and drinking soy products as a way to ease the symptoms of menopause. In fact, eating and drinking the soy products found on the shelves can cause you more harm than good, unless they're fermented. By making this one simple adjustment, you can possibly change the way your body is responding to menopause.

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