Soy isoflavone may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
As people's eating habits in Asia have become Westernized, and soy intake has decreased, there has been an increase of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Generally estrogen is said to be beneficial in fighting prostate cancer. Breast cancer research has looked into the benefits of estrogen as well. A study on the effectiveness of soy isoflavone, which has a chemical structure similar to estrogen revealed that those who drank Miso soup had lower occurrences of breast cancer than those who did not drink it. Of course, those at high risk of breast cancer always should visit doctors for regular check-ups.
Soy isoflavone mimics the functions of female hormones.
Female hormones reach an optimum balance between the ages of 21 and 28. Approximately five years prior to menopause these hormones will experience an imbalance. There will be a loss of estrogen during this time. Menopause symptoms are said to last nearly 10 years, when, due to a decline in estrogen, women will experience hot flashes, moodiness, and sleeplessness. The structure of soy isoflavone is much like the structure of estrogen — a key hormone for women. This is why Miso is thought to help relieve some of the symptoms of menopause.
It is worth noting that there are two types of soy isoflavones — glycoside and aglycon. The glycoside type is not easily absorbed by the body, while the aglycon type is efficiently absorbed through the stomach. Most soy products, including tofu, contain the glycoside type of soy isoflavone. On the other hand, fermented Miso contains the beneficial aglycon type of isoflavone, from which many women can benefit.
Soy isoflavone prevents bone breakage and promotes bone strength.
Bones go through a cycle of breakdown and regenerating. Steadily renewing bone strength over a period of time keeps a person strong and healthy. However, injuries or other factors can upset the bones' natural renewal cycle, causing an imbalance.
Estrogen functions as a support system to prevent breaking of bones, but as women go into menopause, estrogen production declines rapidly escalating bone loss. It is said that women experience an increase in bone loss of 15 to 50% during the 10 years of menopause. Decline in estrogen production is the cause of bone fragility and osteoporosis. But women who receive hormone therapy during menopause see an increase in bone mass. Soy isoflavone — which functions like the hormone estrogen — is also thought to help in strengthening bones and increasing bone mass.
Helps fight post-menopausal weight gain and other lifestyle-related diseases.
The hormone estrogen works to fight high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. But as menopause robs women of estrogen, the risk of estrogen-deficiency-related diseases increase. Although not as effective as hormone therapy, soy isoflavone intake is said to work against weight gain and decrease the risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases such as high cholesterol and heart disease. It also promotes blood circulation, and may even contribute to younger-looking skin. Additionally, brain function can improve. Soy isoflavone is even thought to act as an Alzheimer's preventative.