24 Jun THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE ISOFLAVONES
The importance of isoflavones is widely appreciated and is currently the subject of intense research and discussions. Isoflavones appear to protect against hormone-related disorders such as breast cancer and prostate cancers. The best way to consume isoflavones is in the form soy, so you can benefit from other healthy components of soy. Soy contains many types of isoflavones, but the most beneficial are genistein and daidzein. The highest amounts of isoflavones can be found in soy nuts and tempeh. Isoflavones are fairly stable. Under normal cooking methods, isoflavones are not destroyed. Research in several areas of healthcare has shown that consumption of isoflavones may play a role in lowering risk for disease. Isoflavones can fight disease on several fronts: Ease menopause symptoms. The benefits of soy go beyond reducing long-term cancer risk. Recent studies have found that soy isoflavones can reduce menopause symptoms such as hot flushes and increase bone density in women. Indeed, many menopausal and post-menopausal health problems may result from a lack of isoflavones in the typical Western diet. Reduce heart disease risk. Soy isoflavones also appear to reduce cardiovascular disease risk via several distinct mechanisms. Isoflavones inhibit the growth of cells that form artery clogging plaque. These arteries usually form blood clots which can lead to a heart attack. A review of 38 controlled studies on soy and heart disease concluded that soy is definitely effective for improving cholesterol profile. There is some evidence that isoflavones are the active ingredients in soy responsible for improving cholesterol profile. Influence of isoflavones on cholesterol. Supplements containing isoflavones have been investigated for their role in cardiovascular risk reduction. Studies in animals and humans have shown that isoflavones can reduce total and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, particularly in people with increased cholesterol levels. Protect against prostate problems. Eating isoflavones rich products may protect against enlargement of the male prostate gland. Studies show isoflavones slowed prostate cancer growth and caused prostate cancer cells to die. Isoflavones act against cancer cells in a way similar to many common cancer-treating drugs. Isoflavones improve bone health – Soy Isoflavones help in the preservation of the bone substance and fight osteoporosis. This is the reason why people in China and Japan very rarely have osteoporosis, despite their low consumption of dairy products, whereas in Europe and North America the contrary happens. Unlike estrogen, which helps prevent the destruction of bone, evidence suggests that isoflavones may also assist in creating new bone. Other studies are not entirely consistent, but evidence suggests that genistein and other soy isoflavones can help prevent osteoporosis. Reduce cancer risk. Isoflavones act against cancer cells in a way similar to many common cancer-treating drugs. Population-based studies show a strong association between consumption of isoflavones and a reduced risk of breast and endometrial cancer. Women who ate the most soy products and other foods rich in isoflavones reduced their risk of endometrial cancer by 54%. Isoflavones are natural antioxidants. A recent study has demonstrated that isoflavones have potent antioxidant properties, comparable to that of vitamin E. The anti-oxidant powers of isoflavones can reduce the long-term risk of cancer by preventing free radical damage to DNA. Genistein is the most potent antioxidant among the soy isoflavones, followed by daidzein.