Soyfoods are known for being uniquely rich dietary sources of isoflavones, often referred to as phytoestrogens. Now, a two year clinical trial involving approximately 300 postmenopausal Canadian women found that daily supplementation with soy isoflavones is safe and can lead to a number of benefits. For example, isoflavones significantly decreased LDL-cholesterol by about 6 percent. Taking isoflavones also improved leg strength as measured by one particular type of squatting exercise. In addition, exercise and isoflavones individually maintained bone mineral density at the hip when compared to a placebo. Unexpectedly, however, this benefit was lost when exercise was combined with isoflavones. A previous study found the combination was actually quite beneficial….
Archives for December 2012
Nearly 20 years ago, the low incidence of hot flashes among Japanese women prompted clinical research into the effects of soyfoods on the alleviation of menopausal symptoms. Earlier this year, the results of the most extensive and sophisticated analysis of the intervention studies to date, which was published in the journal Menopause, showed very clearly that soybean phytoestrogens (isoflavones) cut hot flash frequency and severity by more than half (1). Unfortunately, recent media coverage of a study from the University of California may have unintentionally misled thousands of women into believing that soy may not help alleviate menopausal symptoms….
Omega-3 fatty acids are frequently in the news for their proposed myriad health benefits—everything from reducing risk of heart disease and cancer to alleviating symptoms of arthritis. The two omega-3 fatty acids most often mentioned are EPA and DHA, which are found in certain types of fatty fish. A third omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), makes the news much less frequently, but is, in fact, the omega-3 fatty acid that is actually an essential nutrient. That is, it’s the only one of the omega-3 fats that is required in the diet. EPA and DHA are not considered essential since humans can make them from ALA. Soybean oil is the major source of ALA in American diets….
According to the British Thyroid Association (BTA), there is no evidence that people who have hypothyroidism need to completely avoid soyfoods. They do recommend waiting four hours after taking thyroid medication before consuming soy products, however. This is because soy protein can interfere with the absorption of the medication. The BTA also noted that the recommendation for soy is the same as it is for high-fiber foods, iron and calcium supplements, as well as antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium. All of these products also impair the body’s ability to absorb thyroid medication. Many drugs and herbs have similar effects. Thyroid medication is meant to be taken in the morning and on an empty stomach.
Following an extensive review of the scientific literature, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), concluded that breast cancer survivors can safely consume soyfoods. The AICR position concurs with that of another leading cancer organization, the American Cancer Society (ACS), which issued their position statement earlier this year….
This year, while you take care of drafting your New Year’s resolutions—we can almost guess what they are—let The Soyfoods Council provide suggestions for how you can enjoy yourself along the way. Soyfoods such as tofu, soymilk and soy yogurt are low in saturated fat, high in polyunsaturated fat and provide essential omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, the quality of soy protein is comparable to animal proteins. Soyfoods are also convenient and versatile ingredients. Here are four suggestions, demonstrating how recipes featuring chocolate can help make the coming year a more healthful, happy one….