You can breathe a little easier now… that is, if you start eating soy. Researchers have found that if you consume soy products, such as tofu and soy milk, on a regular basis you can improve your lung function and lower the chances of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Ninety percent of the time, COPD is caused by long-term smoking. The condition is characterized by a progressive decline in lung function which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Previous research has suggested other health benefits like cholesterol reduction, fighting cancer, and improved bone health, but this is the first time it’s been linked to reducing the risk of COPD.
“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,” says the Japanese study’s author Fumi Hirayama. “However, further research is needed to understand the underlying biological mechanism.”