Inflammation is the way in which our body reacts to external aggressions. This protective mechanism is good and beneficial, but once the cause has been removed, it has to disappear. Sometimes, however, this does not happen and remains a silent and chronic inflammation that works from the inside and over the long term can cause various diseases, such as Alzheimer's, depression but also tumors. Obesity, stress, a diet too rich in sugar and omega 6 to the detriment of omega 3, these are all factors that can promote the onset of chronic inflammation. But, luckily for us, there are also lifestyles and foods that can counteract inflammatory processes. Soy is one of these foods, as shown by a recent scientific research published in the British Journal of Nutrition by an Iranian team (Rezazadegan et al, British Journal of Nutrition, Aug 2020).
In the literature there are several studies that aim to demonstrate the anti-inflammatory action of soy, but these are very different researches and the results are often unclear. That is why, the authors of the study examined 28 of these studies and tried to understand whether it is possible to establish an anti-inflammatory action of soy. In particular, the effect of soy on the main indicators of inflammation was analyzed. These markers are tumor necrosis factor alpha, or TNF alpha, interleukin 6, interleukin 2, interleukin 1 beta, and interferon gamma.
Isoflavones are antioxidant substances contained in soy and are mainly responsible for the beneficial properties of the legume. Well, what resulted from the analysis is that high dosages of isoflavones, more than 100 mg per day, which correspond to about 400 g of tofu or 1 liter of soy milk, reduced the presence of tumor necrosis factor alpha. No effects were observed on the other indicators of inflammation. However, the data refer to people who already had diseases at the time of the study. Therefore, in healthy people and who want to fight inflammation for prevention purposes, soy can be a good food choice but always without excesses, it will in fact be unlikely to be able to reach the daily quantity of 100 mg of isoflavones from soy, and by following a varied diet.