Soy protein found in food may counter the negative effects of menopause on bone and metabolic health.
The research from the University of Missouri-Columbia studied the effects of soy versus corn-based diets on rats selectively bred to have low fitness levels.
The results showed that the tibia bones of the rats that were fed soy were stronger compared to the rats who were fed the corn-based diet.
They also found that the soy-based diet improved metabolic function of the rats both with and without ovaries.
“The findings suggest that all women might see improved bone strength by adding some soy-based whole foods, such as tofu and soy milk, to their diet,” said Pamela Hinton, professor of nutrition and exercise physiology.
“We also believe that soy-based diets can improve metabolic function for postmenopausal women.”
Prior research had found that these rats are good models for menopausal women.
“Bottom line, this study showed that women might improve bone strength by adding some soy-based whole foods to their diet,” Hinton said.
“Our findings suggest that women don’t even need to eat as much soy as is found in typical Asian diets, but adding some tofu or other soy, for example foods found in vegetarian diets, could help strengthen bones.”