Help with hot flushes Q: I’ve heard that soya can help with hot flushes during the menopause. How can I incorporate it into my diet? A: Helen and her team from Molloy’s Lifestyle Pharmacy & Health Store says, Hot flushes are common during the menopause and are caused by declining levels of oestrogen. As the ovaries produce less oestrogen, hormone fluctuations cause surges in the levels of chemicals that dilate blood vessels. This makes blood rush to the skin’s surface which in turn, makes you feel hot and flushed. Soya and soy foods can indeed help to reduce flushing and this is because they are a rich source of isoflavones. Isoflavones are oestrogen-like plant hormones or phytoestrogens that are though to provide an additional hormone boost when oestrogen levels are low. This additional boost helps to reduce fluctuations which should make you less prone to flushing. In Japan, for example, where soya is a dietary staple, less than 25 percent of menopausal women are reported to suffer with hot flushes, compared to 75 percent in Ireland and the UK. So definitely a ‘thumbs up’, but how do you incorporate it into your diet? Soya milk, protein powder, meat substitutes and most soya supplements tend to provide very few active isoflavones. The active isoflavones in soya are called Genistein, Diadzein and Glycetein. In Japan, soya foods are almost always cultured or fermented before being eaten so the Japanese obtain far more active phytoestrogens from their food. There is a supplement that comes close though. True Food Superpotency Soyagen from Higher Nature offers one of the highest concentrations available of the active isoflavones Genistein, Diadzein and Glycetein. More importantly, the True Food fermentation method replicates the natural blueprint of isoflavones as they are found in traditionally fermented soya foods, matching the average Japanese daily intake of active isoflavones. Take one tablet daily. For further advice or information, ask at Molloy’s Health Store.