If you are experiencing a decrease in sexual desire, have irregular menses, vaginal dryness, adult acne, thinning of hair, chronic fatigue (extremely tired for no obvious reason), hair growth on the face especially on the chin and upper lip, mood swings, dry skin, sleepy disturbance, joint pains you are heading for menopause. The average age of menopause is between 50 and 53. But these symptoms can begin anytime after 40 and go on for some time unless you do something about it. Some women may experience all the symptoms, while others may sail through it with no significant symptoms.
Why do some women experience more menopausal discomfort than others?
Although symptoms depend on hormone levels and genetics, women who are vegetarian experience fewer menopausal symptoms – this could be because vegetarians consume more grains, pulses and legumes which contain compounds called phytoestrogens. These help reduce menopausal symptoms. Japanese women consume a lot of Soya product. Soya beans are the richest food source of phytoestrogen. It has been observed by Herman Aldercreutz, a famous researcher in Soya, that menopausal symptoms are less in Japanese and Indonesian women compared to Western Women. There are many other clinical studies that show lower incidence of menopausal symptoms due to increased intake of soya foods.
How does soya bean help?
Soya bean works like antiaging pill. It contains isoflavones like genistein, daidzein that have a positive effect on bone health, sex drive, heart disease, vaginal dryness, depression insomnia (sleep disturbances) etc. Genistein in Soya is a potent antioxidant with anticancer activity. Soya helps lower cholesterol, triglycerides and regulates blood sugar levels. Therefore, it plays a definite role in heart disease prevention in post-menopausal women. The soya magic seems to even work on preventing fragile bones or osteoporosis. Consuming soya in the form of soya milk or soya flour helps build strong bones.
Phytoestrogens in soya have a direct benefit on bone health. Women approaching menopause should consume at least 100-150 gm of soya bean everyday. You could consume it in the form of soya flour mixed with wheat flour to make chapattis. You could drink soya milk regularly or consume tofu soya biscuits and soya nuts act as healthy in between-meals snacks. Soya beans can be cooked as a dal and consumed regularly. Every gram of soya protein contains at least 1-2 mg of isoflavone – its miracle component which appears to have a beneficial effect on menopausal symptoms.
Soya bean need not to be consumed only by menopausal women. The earlier you start, the more benefits you can derive from it. Along with consuming soya, a low fat diet, rich in natural foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and pulses helps in preventing most hormone related problems. If you, have been consuming soya beans keep doing so, if not then start now!