How soy can boost women’s health
A study published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society, says that for women, adding soy to your diet may help your heart, but it all comes down to timing. Researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina say that incorporating soy early in life will help reduce atherosclerosis, which is a slow disease in which your arteries become clogged and hardened.
Researchers studied monkeys, by feeding them soy before and after their menopause stages. Monkeys before menopause were fed a diet rich in either soybean protein or mostly animal-based protein, the study says. After menopause, there were different study groups: monkeys that continue to eat soy, monkeys that switched from animal protein to soy, and monkeys that continued only animal protein.
The study lasted about 34 months, and concluded that the cholesterol levels of monkeys that ate soy before and after menopause were better than those who stuck with animal protein. Those who were switched to soy after menopause also had great improvement in cholesterol levels, according to the study.
Although incorporating soy into a diet later in life is not a bad idea, researchers said, the amount of plaque found in the arteries of the monkeys that had switched from animal to soy protein did not decline. Monkeys that had a life-long soy diet had the least amount of plaque.
The key to getting the best out of the soy consumption is to start young, researchers said, and continue to incorporate it into your lifestyle. Researchers pointed out that women in Asian countries consume a lot of soy and Asia produces the least amount of atherosclerosis, the study says.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.