The Remarkable Health Benefits of Soy

Number 105. For Professional Use Only

ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies indicate that the traditional Asian diet, rich in soybeans and soy foods, is associated with a significantly lower risk to heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon. Symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, irritability, and spontaneous sweats, are also less prevalent among Asian women. This is in strong contrast to those cultures whose diets are typically low in soy, legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables and high in animal products and saturated fats. Research focuses on the isoflavones found in soy—genistein and daidzein—as major contributors to this phenomenon. Isoflavones are a class of phtytoestrogens that influence estrogen receptor binding, lower triglycerides and total cholesterol, function as antioxidants, exert antiproliferative effects, and inhibit platelet activating factor and thrombin formation. The multiple health benefits of soy, when taken daily over time, parallel many of the positive effects of hormone replacemen t thera py (HRT) while simultaneously protecting breast and endometrial tissue. Soy isoflavones can be considered an important supplement for those women seeking natural alternatives to HRT, as well as men and women of any age who want to enjoy the many health benefits associated with soy consumption.

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