Soybeans are uniquely rich sources of isoflavones, which have been studied in connection with a variety of health benefits. There is also reason to think that isoflavone consumption could be beneficial for overall quality of life because they sometimes have estrogen-like properties. Estrogen decline in postmenopausal women is implicated in several age-related physical and psychological changes, including decreases in perceived quality of life. Several trials with hormone therapy showed beneficial effects on quality of life parameters. However, because of known or suspected serious side effects of conventional hormone therapy, there is a need for alternatives….
For more than 20 years researchers have evaluated the effects of soyfoods and soybean isoflavones on menopausal hot flashes. The latest and most comprehensive analysis of the research shows that isoflavones are very helpful in alleviating hot flashes. Now, a new study from the School of Heilongjiang Bayi Agricultural University and Harbin Medical University in China adds to this evidence….
Recent research has brought reassurance to women who enjoy soyfoods, especially those who have had breast cancer. Last year, both the American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research concluded that women with breast cancer can safely consume soyfoods. And now, another study adds even more support to that stance….
For decades nutritionists have debated the merits of polyunsaturated and saturated fat. Polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature whereas saturated fats are solid. Saturated fats are found primarily in animal products and are thought to raise risk of heart disease in part by raising blood cholesterol levels. In contrast, polyunsaturated fats are thought to lower blood cholesterol levels and consequently, to lower risk of heart disease….
Among women in Asia, epidemiologic (observational) studies show higher soy consumption is associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer (1). However, clinical (intervention) studies involving adults show that the consumption of soy or soy isoflavones has no effect on markers (indicators) of breast cancer risk (2). These markers include breast cell proliferation and breast tissue density. One explanation for the protective effect observed in observational studies but the lack of benefit observed in clinical studies, is that protection occurs as a result of soy consumption during childhood and/or adolescence. Women who consume more soy as adults are also likely to have consumed more soy during childhood as early dietary habits track into adulthood….
Scientists have made important gains in recent years in understanding the aging process. One important key appears to be telomeres, or more specifically, telomere length. These are stretches of DNA that sit at the end of chromosomes and protect genetic data, making it possible for cells to divide. They are like the plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces. Just like those tips prevent shoelaces from fraying, telomeres do the same for chromosomes, preventing damage that would scramble genetic information in ways that may raise risk for chronic disease….
Evidence for the safety of soyfoods for women with breast cancer continues to accumulate. Recently, researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine concluded that breast cancer patients should not be advised against eating soyfoods. Similar conclusions have been made by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Society….