Soy May Reduce Damage Caused by Smoking
If you can't quit smoking, maybe you should at least increase the amount of soy in your diet, if a new study saying soy could curb respiratory problems is any indication. The Asian superfood can reduce the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory problems, the study says.
Soy, which is found in many Japanese foods, including tofu, natto, miso soup, soybean sprouts, and soy milk, has long been associated with a reduction in cholesterol and the symptoms of menopause. The new study, however, is the first to show a connection between soy consumption and a reduction in the risk of developing COPD, a deadly lung disease.
Researchers Dr. Fumi Hirayama and professor Andy Lee from the Curtin University of Technology, Australia, polled 300 patients with COPD and 340 age-matched control subjects about their intake of soy.
"Soy consumption was found to be positively correlated with lung function and inversely associated with the risk of COPD," Hirayama said. "It has been suggested that flavonoids from soy foods act as an anti-inflammatory agent in the lung, and can protect against tobacco carcinogens for smokers."
Smoking is the biggest cause of COPD, a lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Long-term smoking is associated with 90 percent of cases.
More than 12 million Americans have COPD, and another 24 million have impaired lung function, indicating that COPD may be under-diagnosed. The best preventive measure is not to smoke.
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