Scientists say soy contains a natural compound which can help reduce production of oestrogen, the hormone which contributes to menopausal problems.
Studies in Japan, where soy is consumed with meals regularly, found that Asian women experienced milder menopausal symptoms than Americans and Europeans where use of soy is less frequent.
Soy has already been found to have anti-cancer properties and can lower cholesterol.
Now researchers say the new wonder food could be an alternative to conventional hormone replacement therapy as a way of treating uncomfortable menopausal problems, such as hot flashes and even bone loss.
Soy sauce, made from soya beans, is a traditional accompaniment to Chinese food in the UK.
Experts at the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo found women who consumed soy produced a chemical called S-equol which halted bone loss and fat accumulation in women in the early stages of the menopause.
The menopause in women is associated with the body's stage in life when levels of the hormone oestrogen decrease. It is common for the menopause to occur at about 50 years of age among western women.
A reduction in production of oestrogen can be associated with bone loss.
Less severe symptoms include hot flashes among menopausal women the world over.
Despite decades of research the specific cause of hot flushes and why they occur is still not understood, neither is it is known why oestrogen works to reduce them.
Now Japanese scientists have found that women who took a soy based supplement containing S-equol for just three months had much less menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and neck and shoulder stiffness.
The research is reported in the Journal of Nutrition.