Recent research shows that the isoflavones in soyfoods may help asthma sufferers. A study done at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago examined the effects of isoflavones from soy in cells and then in patients with asthma. The results suggest that soyfoods may be of benefit to asthma patients.
Dr. Ravi Kalhan and his team worked first with cells that are a part of the immune system (human peripheral blood cosinophils), and found they produced much less of a substance (leukotrine) known to cause inflammation. Airway inflammation is a basic characteristic underlying asthma.
Kalhan and his colleagues then tested whether the isoflavones would have similar effects in humans and, after four weeks of consuming isoflavone supplements, cells taken from the patients showed one-third less of the inflammatory substance than before taking the isoflavones. The researchers concluded that these findings warrant additional research on isoflavones as a possible means of helping to ameliorate asthma and related diseases.
Isoflavones (phytoestrogens), which are found almost exclusively in soyfoods, are being studied for their benefits in a wide range of areas including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer and the alleviation of hot flashes, among others. In addition, in 1999, soy protein received a health claim in by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its ability to lower cholesterol. Eating whole soyfoods provides protein and the isoflavones.
“Fortunately for today’s health-conscious consumers there’s a wonderful variety of soyfoods out there that can easily add their many benefits, including isoflavones, to today’s meals,” according to Linda Funk, Executive Director of The Soyfoods Council.
“A simple snack of roasted soy nuts, now to be found in almost every supermarket snack and nut section, packs an isoflavone punch, In that same section are soy chips, crisps and other snacks.” Funk continues. “Popular soymilk now comes in an amazing variety of flavors and convenient packaging in both the dairy case and in aseptic boxes in the grocery section. Consumers can find soyfoods in the produce section (tofu, salad dressings), in the vegetarian or meat section (soy burgers, soy crumbles, sausage, pepperoni and more), in the frozen vegetable section (edamame-shelled and in the pod) and in the frozen dessert section (ice cream, bars and more). “So popular are soyfoods that there’s hardly an area of today’s supermarket that doesn’t have a soy-based item,” Funk reports. “There are new items coming on the market every day so it’s very easy to find a soyfoods item to provide high quality protein, at a reasonable calorie cost and with those important isoflavones.”
For more information about soyfoods and the many forms and types, as well a wealth of nutrition research and information visit www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com.