Question: Dear Monique, Hi, I've been a vegetarian (98% vegan) for several years. I drink a soy protein drink every morning which contains 25 grams of soy protein. I do aerobics 2 to 3 times a week and have considered adding another protein drink before my workout. I also consume veggie burgers and cold cuts in moderation. I would also like to start eating more tofu. Is it possible to get too much soy?
I am 49 years old and entering menopause (major hot flashes). I have heard that soy helps reduce them. If that is the case, I 'd hate to think what they'd be like without it. I have no health problems. Thank you for your help. Kathy
Answer: The best thing you can do for yourself while going through menopause is to exercise regularly and increase your intake of soy. Many women experience a reduction in their hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms by eating soy foods. Besides helping to regulate estrogen when it is declining or fluctuating, soy can also help with other conditions such as osteoporosis, heart attack and stroke. Women have an increased risk for these disorders during and after menopause. Many studies show that soy can prevent these diseases by helping the body absorb and retain calcium, inhibit bone loss, lower LDL (the bad) cholesterol and decrease blood clotting.
I have not heard of anyone overdosing on soy. I believe that if you eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains, soy and other legumes, you will be okay. The only reference I have heard of is that some people who ate mass quantities of soy developed goiter. But that when they added iodine to their diet, the goiter subsided. Since most of the salt sold in America is iodized, you probably won't have this problem. Believe me, both my husband and I have been eating a lot of soy and soy-based products for more than thirteen years now, and have suffered no ill effects. Just make sure that you maintain variety in all the foods you eat, and that includes soy foods. Try out tempeh, textured soy protein, soy-based cold-cuts, tofu, miso, soynuts, etc. Keep doing what you have been doing and remember, eat everything in moderation and nothing in excess.
For more information about soy, visit the Virtues of Soy website.
Also read my article "COPING WITH MENOPAUSE NATURALLY: Alternatives to HRT" with recipe for "Golden Tofu Strips"
And read "A Natural Approach to Menopause" at www.pcrm.org
• The All-Natural Menopause Diet: The Drug-Free, Natural Way to Beat Your Symptoms and Lose Weight
by Theresa Cheung and Adam Balen
• Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones
by Suzanne Somers
• The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing During the Change, 2nd Edition
by Christiane Northrup
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Monique N. Gilbert, BSc. has offered guidance in health, nutrition, fitness and stress management since 1989. Through her writings, Monique motivates and teaches how to improve your well-being, vitality and longevity with balanced nutrition, physical activity and healthy stress-free living.