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Plant-Based, Soy-Rich Diet Studied in Postmenopausal Women

Low-fat, vegan diet that includes whole soybeans may reduce frequency, severity of hot flashes and improve QOL in postmenopausal women

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WEDNESDAY, July 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The results of a small randomized, controlled trial suggest that a low-fat, vegan diet, including whole soybeans, can reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes and improve menopause-specific quality of life among postmenopausal women, according to a study published online July 14 in Menopause.

Neal D. Barnard, M.D., from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C., and colleagues randomly assigned 38 postmenopausal women reporting two or more hot flashes/day to 12 weeks of either a low-fat, vegan diet, including half a cup (86 g) of cooked soybeans daily, or no diet changes. The frequency and severity of hot flashes were recorded and vasomotor, psychosocial, physical, and sexual symptoms were assessed.

The researchers observed decreases of 79 and 49 percent in total hot flashes in the intervention and control groups, respectively. Moderate-to-severe hot flashes decreased 84 and 42 percent in the intervention and control groups, respectively. Of the intervention-group participants, 59 percent reported becoming free of moderate and severe hot flashes from zero to 12 weeks compared with no change in the control group. Significantly greater reductions were seen in the intervention group in vasomotor, psychosocial, physical, and sexual domains of the Menopause-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire.

"This is a game changer for women aged 45 and over, most of whom we now know can get prompt relief from the most severe and troubling menopause symptoms without drugs," Barnard said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical, publishing, and nutrition and health industries.

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