Soy Quells Hot Flashes

If you want to cool unpleasant hot flashes, try upping your intake of soy foods. A recent issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology (2001, vol. 153, no. 8) confirms the long-held belief that Japanese women's high soy intake correlates to their low rate of menopause-related hot flashes.

Researchers examined the diets of 1,106 premenopausal Japanese women, their mean age 43. The women were divided into three groups, each group averaging a different level of daily soy food intake. Over the subsequent six years, 101 of the women developed moderate-to-severe hot flashes. Women who consumed the most soy during the study had two-thirds fewer warm spells compared with those eating the least soy. Hormone replacement therapy, menopausal status, or other dietary or psychological factors did not affect soy's protective properties, although smoking for 10 years or more mushroomed the hot-flash risk fourfold, and bearing three or more children lowered it 40 percent.

—Marilyn Sterling