Soy After Menopause – Good Or Bad?

Like many women, I have always believed that eating plenty of soy was good for me.  After all, it seemed to be popping up everywhere from soy drinks to soy snacks. It was the food to eat.  But then suddenly I started hearing that it was actually harmful for me to be eating it, especially now that I’ve gone through menopause. Apparently there is a darker side to soy that I was unaware of. And so, being just a little confused, I decide a little research was in order.

The first thing I learn from my research is that we are eating a lot more soy on a day to day basis than we realize.  Even when we are not looking for soy in particular, it is there in many of our breads, baked goods, oils, beverages, and snacks. So while small amounts of soy may be beneficial to good health, large amounts are not. 

In Asian cultures, where soy is an important part of the daily diet, the average person still only consumes about 9 grams a day of fermented soy products. Fermenting soy creates probiotic bacteria which is good for us.  However, in our culture, it seems most of the soy food such as snacks and drinks that we consume are not only made of non fermented soy which fails to provide this goodness, they also contain almost 20 grams of soy per item.  This means we are not just getting too much of a good thing, but we are in fact, getting way too much of a good thing gone bad!

Now as for soy after menopause, I had for a long time believed it was soy’s ability to increase estrogen that made it good for menopausal women.  Since estrogens decreases after menopause, it made sense that eating something that increases estrogen would be beneficial.  But now I am reading that this is not necessarily the case and that, in fact, eating soy and increasing estrogen levels may actually increase the risk of breast and other cancers.

Apparently, as far as eating soy is concerned, there are a couple things to keep in mind.  First, read the labels.  Soy is popping up in everything, so it is wise to be aware of how much you are really getting.

Next, look specifically for fermented soy.  I didn’t even realize there was such as thing.  It is the healthy soy. Also, as with any food, moderation is the key.  By incorporating some good soy into your diet you can reap its benefits. 

And finally, talk to your doctor about things like bioidentical hormone therapy, and other natural ways to help you get through menopause and develop a healthy post menopausal lifestyle.

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