They are active compounds that form in the secondary metabolism of plants and are not considered strictly “nutrients”, because their action on the body is not to obtain energy or the formation of organic structures (basic nutritional functions), but rather acts on various physiological processes. which give them or increase them in a specific way (each phytonutrient is linked to specific actions).
In this article I will tell you the functions attributed to phytoestrogens. These are:
- First of all, they have the role of alleviating the discomfort or symptoms associated with menopause, such as: hot flashes, anxiety, insomnia, depression, irritability, etc.
- Secondly, they also play a very important role in protecting against cardiovascular disease, as they facilitate the metabolism of lipids, regulating cholesterol.
- They reduce the loss of bone mass, characteristic of this stage, reducing the occurrence of osteoporosis.
- They reduce the risk of breast and endometrial cancer.
- And last but not least, they reduce cellular aging due to its antioxidant action.
People need to realize that all these functions are very important for the functioning of their body. Phytoestrogens have a very good capacity for the estrogenic response in women, because sometimes and depending on each individual there can be strong responses that can cause certain imbalances and eventually certain pathologies.
People need to know that phytoestrogens can be taken from foods of plant origin. These are: whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, but there is a type of phytoestrogens, isoflavones, which are the largest family of phytoestrogens. They are found in all legumes, although the most abundant source is soy and some of its derivatives, such as tempeh, tofu, miso, etc.
It is important to know that the correct activation and absorption of isoflavones will depend on the state of our intestinal bacteria, because they are, once we have ingested soybeans, which will be responsible, through their enzymatic action, to transform soybeans into its form. active so that we can absorb it properly. Therefore, it will be very important that our intestinal microbiota (bacteria found in our intestines) be in the right balance and functionality.
Researchers in the field also say that the most studied phytoestrogens are isoflavones. Because of this, they are most often found in the treatment of menopausal women. They also say that a diet rich in isoflavones reduces the incidence of symptoms at this stage, especially hot flashes.
Hot flashes are the most common menopausal disorder, but although numerous studies confirm a significant improvement in women treated with isoflavones, the findings of these studies are still somewhat unclear.
Another aspect that, according to studies, can improve phytoestrogens is osteoporosis, based on the fact that a diet rich in isoflavones has a positive effect on bone mineral density, although there are still few studies in this regard.