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November 5, 2020 Kylie

The Great Soy Debate

This is a really common question I get asked all the time… should I eat soy?

In a word – YES!

Soy contains phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens get their name because they exert a weak estrogen-like effect, BUT they are not estrogen. Phytoestrogens bind so weakly to estrogen receptors and can have a mild balancing effect. They will increase the effect when estrogen levels are low – so very beneficial after menopause – and they have a lowering effect if estrogen is too high, which can also be beneficial for symptoms of estrogen excess such as heavy periods.

Phytoestrogens occur in plant foods such as nuts, seeds, wholegrains and legumes. In moderate amounts they are healthy. In a large amount, they can make periods lighter and sometimes suppress ovulation.

The best known phytoestrogens are lignans from flaxseeds and isoflavones from soy.

During perimenopause:
Anti estrogenic because they block estradiol.
It can help prevent PMS, lighten periods and has been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer.

Post menopause:
Slightly pro-estrogenic because there is less estradiol to block.
Improves occurrence of hot flashes.
Decreases fat and increases lean tissue.
Decreases the risk of breast and endometrial cancer.
Helps improve insulin sensitivity.

Remember:
Always choose organic, non GMO soy.
Try soy milk, tofu, tempeh, edamame or green soybeans and roasted soy nuts.
The soy to avoid would be the processed soy that is often used as a filler in packaged and processed foods.

The benefits of incorporating freshly ground flaxseed (or linseeds) into your diet include:

  • Full of lignans which are anti-cancer
  • Phytoestrogenic
  • Naturally contain fibre, omega 3 and antioxidants
  • Heart protective.

TIP: Grind before use to maximise the good fats!
Aim for ¼ cup most days.