Use Soy Products For Hot Flashes

By Annette Caruso

Menopause causes unpleasant symptoms in millions of women. Among the most familiar complaints are fluctuations in body temperature and excessive perspiration. Although there are prescription drugs for these age-related conditions, many people prefer to use soy products for menopause relief and night sweats. Research and years of consumer experience have shown that soybeans can help make menopause less uncomfortable.

Hot flashes are caused by fluctuations in hormones. The two main hormones that are involved are estrogen and progesterone. When estrogen is low, as happens during pre-menopause and menopause, the pituitary gland releases a hormone called LH (luteinizing hormone). This hormone causes the blood vessels in the face, throat, and upper body to swell. The rush of blood to these areas results in a rise in body temperature and also activates sweat glands.

Components of soy called isoflavones can replace the missing estrogen and thereby lessen or eliminate this uncomfortable reaction. The isoflavones are phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) that the body will accept. Soybeans are processed to concentrate these phytoestrogens, which are delivered in powders and capsules as supplements.

Genistein is an isoflavone which has been shown to bind to the receptors in the human body which capture estrogen. This substance is sold as a single supplement for menopausal women. It is called a bio-identical hormone, meaning it can replace natural human estrogen.

There are other reasons for using soy foods and supplements besides suppressing annoying symptoms. When the system is low on needed hormones, it will absorb estrogen-like components of plastics and other modern chemicals. By consuming soy products, a woman can protect herself from these prevalent by-products of modern food packaging and processing. Since many of the chemicals are carcinogens, this is a wise practice.

If you would rather not take pills, you can eat soybeans and soybean foods. The fermented foods like tempeh, tofu, and miso eaten in oriental countries are believed to contribute to the lower rates of cancer in these countries. However, the isolated proteins used in energy bars and soymilk are not fermented and are less beneficial.

Many westerners don't care for the unfamiliar foods of the orient, however. Supplements can be an easy way to get the benefits of the soybean. Some products use fermented whole soybeans as the active ingredient.

It's important to get supplements and foods from reputable sources. Soy is commonly genetically modified and grown with huge applications of herbicides, so look for an organic label. Organic standards don't allow chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides to be used by farmers.

It's recommended that women eat whole, fresh foods, get adequate exercise, avoid spicy dishes and caffeine, and drink lots of water. A few simple steps and the right soyfoods or supplements can restore balance to your system and keep you free of hot flashes.

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