Soy Protein May Help Build Muscle Mass, Promote Strength in Postmenopausal Women

For women exploring the diet and health connection, adding soyfoods and soy protein to the diet has just become an even better idea. It is well known that consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day will lower cholesterol and possibly blood pressure. And now, newly published research indicates it will also help postmenopausal women increase their strength. The combination of resistance exercise training and supplementing the diet with soy protein can increase strength, which should help to prevent age-related functional decline. Soy protein is readily available in a variety of soyfoods such as soymilk, edamame and tofu, as well as in soy powder (isolated soy protein) that easily can be added to other foods and beverages.

The research in question comes from Brazil and was 16 weeks in duration. During the study period, 32 postmenopausal initiated resistance exercise training two to three times a week. Half of the women consumed a cup of milk after exercising, whereas the other half added 25 grams of soy protein to their post-exercise cup of milk.  While both groups of women experienced increased strength and muscle mass, those who consumed soy protein made significantly greater gains.  These gains in strength applied to bench press and knee extension, as well as a combination of all eight exercises in the study.

Examples of ways to incorporate 25 grams of soy protein into your daily diet include enjoying a variety of soyfoods that provide from 6 to 15 grams of protein per serving. One cup of soymilk, for instance, offers approximately 7 grams of protein, while one-half cup of water-packed tofu provides 12.5 grams of protein. Another option is to add two scoops of soy powder (isolated soy protein) to milk or juice for about 25 grams of protein. The Soyfoods Council offers ideas for post-exercise soy snacks, including blender recipes such as the Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothie and the Mango-Banana Smoothie. 

 Make the Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothie by combining 1 cup each of soymilk and frozen strawberries, a peeled kiwi, and 6 almonds.  For the Mango-Banana Smoothie, blend half of a chopped ripe mango, one small banana, 2 Tbsp. vanilla soy protein powder, ½ cup fat-free plain yogurt and a cup of orange juice.

You’ll find more health-related information about soyfoods, details about the latest soy research, cooking tips, and additional recipe ideas on The Soyfoods Council website. Visit

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