veggies.jpg (6769 bytes)fruitbowl.jpg (6391 bytes)A Little Tofu, for Those Middle-Aged Bones

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A Little Tofu, for Those Middle-Aged Bones

Eating soy may help prevent bone fractures in postmenopausal women. A large study of more than 24,000 women suggests that soy protein is especially helpful to bone health in the first few years after a woman reaches menopause.

The subjects in the study, women 40 to 70, were participants in the Shanghai Women's Health Study who were followed for four and a half years. In this time, 1,770 fractures were reported.

The researchers adjusted the figures for age, osteoporosis risk factors, socioeconomic status and diet other than soy food. They found that the more soy a woman ate, the less likely she was to break a bone.

Within 10 years of menopause, high soy consumption was associated with a 50 percent reduction in the risk for bone fracture.

Dr. Xiao-Ou Shu, a co-author of the paper and a professor in the department of medicine at Vanderbilt, pointed out that the American Heart Association and the Food and Drug Administration recently recommended the consumption of 25 grams of soy protein each day as a heart disease preventive.

That would be more than enough to assure protection against fractures as well. "The consumption level of women who were in the top 20 percent in our study is equivalent to two cups of soy milk per day, or three-quarters of a piece of tofu," she said.

Although the amount of soy protein can vary among different brands, one cup of soy milk contains about 6.6 grams of soy protein, and a piece of tofu contains about 16 grams. "In my opinion," Dr. Shu said, "women should increase soy consumption."

From: NY Times 20 September 2005

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