Suffer hot flushes and night sweats caused by the menopause? A new study indicates we should eat more soy.

Good news: Consuming soy could minimise severity of hot flushes in menopause.

The bad news: it only applies to the 20 to 50% of women – those whose bodies produce soy metabolite equol, a US study shows.

When women aged 45 to 55 suffering meno symptoms ate soy foods at least three times a week, high soy consumers who produced equol were 76% less likely than non-equol producers to report above-average frequency of hot flushes and night sweats, researchers wrote in the North American Menopause Society’s journal.

Soy didn’t, however, mitigate symptom severity. There’s currently no ready test for equol.

Try it: Trial and error is the best bet.

Authors suggest experimenting with soy for four to six weeks.

(Full disclosure: the study was sponsored by a pharma company trying to hatch an equol pill for menopausal symptoms.)

NEXT: How to prevent bloating and cramps