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Strengthen Your Bones With Soy

Strengthen Your Bones With Soy

Soy milk and other soy food products can fortify your bones, without the saturated fat.

You may think of soy as a food, but it’s also used in manufacturing. In the 1930s, Henry Ford hired chemists to turn it into artificial silk, which he named Azlon. While Azlon never reached the market, Ford still used soy in his automobile paints, and soy plastics were eventually used to make horn buttons, gear-shift knobs and accelerator pedals in all Ford cars.

Now a new study has found that there may be yet another benefit from soy. Turns out that soy milk and other soy foods could help keep bones strong and stave off osteoporosis, a concern for women as they age (24.5 percent over age 65 have the condition). And soy milk dodges the worrisome proteins and saturated fat in dairy—soy milk has 0.5g of sat fat per cup; whole milk has 4.6g.

For a new study in Bone Reports, researchers divided rats into two groups. For 30 weeks, one ate a soy-based diet, the other a corn-based one. At the study’s end, the leg bones of the rats on the soy diet were significantly stronger. This was true for rats with ovaries and without, suggesting the benefits could be the same for pre- and post-menopausal women.

So women (and older men—5 percent of those over 65 have osteoporosis of the femur, neck and lumbar spine), you might want to try adding more soy-based products to your diet. Sub in tofu for meat a couple times a week (watch “The Secret to Flavorful Tofu” at Sharecare.com) or try cereal and coffee with soy milk.

Medically reviewed in November 2019.

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