Help for the Menopause – Soya is it Good or Bad?

Help for the Menopause – Soya is it Good or Bad?

In Japan, menopausal hot flushes are so rare that there is no traditional word in the Japanese language to describe them. Asian women have a generally low incidence of hormone-related disorders and have one sixth the rate of breast cancer that we do in the West. This is attributed at least in part to the high soya content of their diet.

If you are feeling confused, that is understandable because you may have heard or read about soya not being healthy. .

It’s very important to distinguish between the different types of soya available. The traditional soya foods eaten in Chinese and Japanese cultures are very different from processed soya foods. The latter contain isolated compounds of soya. They may be added to a wide range of  foods to enhance flavour,  act as a bulking agent or to supply protein e.g. meat substitutes, soups, protein bars,  packaged food, bread and pizza etc.   A lot of the negative studies on soya have focussed on this type of soya rather than whole soya.

Other negative studies on soya have involved raw soya which contains substances called protease inhibitors. These substances block the digestion of protein but are destroyed by cooking and removed in the soaking fluid of  soya products such as tofu and during the making of soya milk. Other common vegetables, if eaten raw, also contain these substances.

The healthiest type of soya is traditional fermented soya e.g. tempeh, natto,  miso or whole soya beans such as edamame beans. The plant chemicals in these soya foods called isoflavones act as weak oestrogens. Tofu is not fermented, but depending on the brand, can be healthy. Soya milk should always be made from whole beans (it will state this on the packaging or you can ask the manufacturer). Tamari sauce could also be used as an accompaniment to stir fries and salad dressings and miso (available in powder to make a soup or stock with) is also beneficial.

There is no “one size fits all” diet, it will be unique to your individual requirements. Book a one to one hormone supporting, personalised nutrition, diet and supplement programme, with me. This will be tailored to your particular needs. Email penny@nutritionistlondon.co.uk