Soy has been the star of many of our dishes for quite some time, and there are even those who have replaced cow’s milk with soy milk. Something that allows us to have more possibilities when having breakfast or preparing different dishes. The truth is that we cannot deny that it is a healthy product that among its many benefits we find that it provides a large amount of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber. In addition, it helps to complement dishes nutritionally speaking. If we add to this that soy is consumed in many Asian countries where cardiovascular diseases and obesity are reduced to a minimum, we understand its great and good shape.
But you already know that, as with everything, it is necessary to be well informed and on many occasions obsessing over a single “healthy” product is not a good thing, since food, environment or lifestyle are capable of modulating our genetic expression to improve or not our health.
There is a popular expression that soy can delay menstruation, but is this true? Is it true that soy alters the menstrual cycle? In this article we are going to see what relationship menstruation has with food and what science tells us about soy. Pay attention!
Soy and its relationship with menstruation
- To understand the relationship between menstruation and soy, we must understand some premises, such as what isoflavones are. According to a study by the Euskadi Health Technology Assessment Service (Spain), we must differentiate between phytoestrogens (compounds of vegetable origin that are very similar to the behavior of human estrogens). “Within the name of phytoestrogens are included isoflavones, which are considered to have the greatest estrogenic activity and are found in soy products.”
- Soy isoflavones have a mild estrogenic effect, but in high concentrations they may be powerful enough to act on the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, thereby reducing ovarian synthesis of estrogen.
- However, considering soybeans as a mere source of isoflavones is extremely reductionist. Soy can contain many other phytochemicals, including saponins, phytosterols, phytic acid, non-isoflavonoid flavonoids, peptides, protease inhibitors, and other bioactive substances.
- There is still a paucity of studies on the subject and few adequately designed clinical trials to assess the effect of soy on hormones with consistent timing and adequate numbers of participants. In addition, one thing is the pharmacological effect (with the use of high concentrations of soybean components), and another is the functional effects of soybeans with food intake. Age should also be considered, whether the women who eat soy are healthy or have a disease, ethnicity, genetics, the amount and type of soy product, since when they eat it and the intake of other foods.
This is how soy affects women’s menstruation
- While soy appears to have a negligible effect on the hormonal network, menstrual cycle length, and fertility outcomes in healthy women, some clues emerged from the literature about its possible beneficial effect in the case of endocrine diseases such as soybean syndrome. polycystic ovary. A possible enhancing influence of soy on the pursuit of pregnancy in clomphene users seems worthy of interest, it may also be beneficial in postmenopausal women.
- In young women with diseases due to excess estrogen and testosterone, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, beneficial indications of soy therapy have been found with weight loss, oxidative stress, improvement in antral follicles, or regularization of the cycle. It has been seen that soy modifies the activity of aromatase and this could be the cause of the decrease in testosterone levels in the blood, however the studies are neither conclusive nor significant.
- On the contrary, excessive soy consumption in patients with low estrogen levels can produce deficiency symptoms, such as menstrual disorders. The menstrual delay has been quantified in 1 day after high consumption, and it does not seem significant either.
- In menopause, the contribution of weak plant estrogens with high antioxidant capacity can be beneficial.
How much soy should be taken?
There is a nutritional debate on the amounts of soy that can or should be consumed per day, since it is not easy to agree on these issues. There is a lot of variation because it depends on genetics, race, vegetarian or non-vegetarian dietary variations, age, etc.
In the Asian diet, an average of 200 mg isoflavones are consumed per day, while in the Western diet, around 5 mg isoflavones are consumed per day. For therapeutic treatment, between 80 and 100 mg of isoflavone extracts are recommended, particularly genistein because it is the most active. The recommended average is 50 mg per day of nutritional isoflavones.
Are there other foods that can cause your period to be late?
- After learning about the case of soy, it would be normal to think that there are many other foods that can have the same effect on our body and, therefore, delay the period. Is this possible? Indeed, there are many foods that contain phytoestrogens, but it is very important to highlight something that we have been talking about throughout the entire article: the importance of quantity. The amount of both phytoestrogens contained in the food itself and the volume we consume. There is only one food that exceeds the amount of phytoestrogens per 100 grams to soybeans and that is flaxseeds.
- Below both we find flax seeds, alfalfa sprouts, garlic or pistachios. It should be remembered that these foods are necessary and healthy for our body. In their right measure they will bring us benefits and they will provide variety in the diet. What is recommended is not to base this solely on them, including them in all meals and at all times.
- Is there any other food that can delay our period without having to do with its origin? Well yes, there is a popular belief that if you eat a lot of lentils a few weeks before your period is going to come down, it will be delayed. However, there is no scientific basis that can argue why this can happen, or even that it really is true in all people.
And are there foods that can advance menstruation?
Like some food, due to its origin or composition, it can delay our period, there are also those that can advance it or can help it to go down more quickly. Surely you have heard of them!
- Spicy foods, such as chili, tabasco or wasabi, due to their spicy properties are capable of bringing your period forward. In addition to that they can cause irritation in the digestive system.
- Cinnamon -which has great health benefits- is very effective when it comes to advancing the period. The explanation is that it improves blood circulation and favors the contractions of the uterus. Taking it as an infusion with a mixture of other medicinal herbs is usually a great solution, since it also reduces swelling prior to menstruation.
- Another food that causes the same effect as cinnamon in our body is papaya, with one more addition. It also activates the absorption of iron, so necessary on those days! Easy to take, rich and very helpful!