In other cultures, women tend to experience little or no menopausal symptoms. One of the main reasons for their lack of menopausal challenges is a diet containing a high ratio of phytoestrogens rather than the western diet which is high in sugars, processed foods and commercially grown meats processed and affected by chemicals. Lingans from plants change the way the body metabolizes estrogen creating a more healthy form of estrogen. In fact, estrodial, (the estrogen that is harmful in high amounts) is over 150% higher in women eating the western diet as compared to women in China. Mayan Indians eat large amounts of plant based food and do not often suffer from osteoporosis!
The phytoestrogens found in soybeans and flaxseed are the most studied of all phytoestrogens. Soybeans contain phytoestrogens known as isoflavones, and flaxseed contains phyto-lignans that are converted to mammal lignans as they are digested. Amongst the thousands of other phytoestrogens are Resveratrol from grapes, quercetin from onions, prunetin from plums and cherries. Phytoestrogens are also a great source of antioxidants through onions, spinach, apples, herbal teas among other sources. One thing is common to cultures where menopausal symptoms are rare - the women eat hundreds of times more of these phytoestrogens than women in the Western world.
The benefits of phytoestrogens for women in Western cultures are many. One of the main benefits is that they are anti-estrogenic and work to keep estrogens in balance by preventing estrone from converting to estradiol, the form of estrogen that fuels the growth of hormonally-based cancer.
Forms of phytoestrogens have also been found to help perimenopause and menopause discomfort including chasteberry, red clover and black cohosh.
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