According to a study published in the journal Bone Reports, women undergoing menopause face serious health concerns including osteoporosis, decreased physical activity and weight gain. The researchers have discovered that soy protein found in food might counter the negative effects of menopause on bone and metabolic health. Moreover, the researchers claim that soy protein might also have positive impacts on bone strength for women who have not yet reached menopause. The findings suggest that all women might see improved bone strength by adding some soy-based whole foods like tofu and soy milk, to their diet.
The researchers studied the various effects of soy versus corn based diets on rats selectively bred to have low fitness levels. As such, understanding how dietary protein sources, such as soy, can impact metabolism and bone health in these rats can help us better understand how such diets might impact women's health across the lifespan.
The researchers found that the tibia bones of the rats that were fed soy were stronger compared to the rats who were fed the corn-based diet, regardless of ovarian hormone status. Moreover, they found that the soy based diet improved metabolic function of the rats both with and without ovaries.
Benefits of Soy Food
Soy foods have long been used as meat and milk substitutes; however, you don't have to be a vegetarian or vegan to include it in your diet. Soybeans are related to lentils and peas, and like other legumes, soy is high in protein. In fact, soy is a complete protein source that contains all the essential amino acids.
Soy is an excellent source of healthy fats that includes mono-unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, making it good for your cardiovascular health.
Foods Rich in Soy
Here are some healthy foods made from soybeans that you should incorporate in your diet:
Soymilk is a healthy source of vitamin D and calcium. One cup of plain soy milk may have about 100 calories and about 300 milligrams of calcium. Here's how you can make soy milk at home.
2. Roasted soybeans
Roasted soybeans can be consumed as healthy snacks at home. Soybeans that are allowed to mature fully turn a golden colour. They can be roasted and served as snacks or made into soybean butter, which can be used as an alternative to peanut butter.
Tempeh is soy that has been cooked, slightly fermented and formed into cakes, often with ingredients like grains or other legumes. Tempeh has a firm texture and can't be cut into pieces or crumbled, so it is often used as a meat substitute.
Tofu is also known as soybean curd, and it is similar to cheese in texture. Tofu is an excellent source of calcium, and it is used as the main ingredient in numerous dishes.
You could also use soybean oil in everyday cooking.