A mainstay of Chinese nutrition, soy is a true concentrate of beneficial substances.
Soy contains a specific class of molecules, isoflavones. Isoflavones or phytoestrogens (molecules of plant origin structurally similar to oestrogens produced by women and to a lesser extent also by men), owe their name due to their ability to bind to oestrogen receptors in the body.
This can be helpful for women of child-bearing age in rebalancing an abnormal hormonal structure due to an overproduction of oestrogen, preventing the onset of breast cancer in the long term. Soy also helps in lowering the blood levels of LDL cholesterol, but if over-consumed it can easily interfere with the thyroid function.
In menopause, by binding to oestrogen receptors in the body, soy isoflavones are believed to help somewhat reduce the severity of unpleasant symptoms.
A recent study published in the Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Disease Journal has shown for both men and women that following a balanced diet including a certain percentage of soy-based foods can reduce coronary risk by 27%, myocardial infarction risk by 37%, and cardiovascular risk by 24%.