Soy isoflavones, classified as phytoestrogens, are found in relatively high concentrations in soybeans. Phytoestrogens are plant-derived non-steroidal substances which exhibit oestrogen-like biological activity. Soy isoflavones possess both weak oestrogenic and weak anti-oestrogenic effects. Their presence in soy foods may offer some explanation as to why people living in countries where soy products are a big part of the diet do not suffer from as many or as frequent hot flushes and other menopausal difficulties. It might also explain why rates of certain hormone-linked cancers are lower in Asia than they are in other parts of the world.
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