A nutrient that supports your children's focus and attention A nutrient that supports your children's focus and attention

A nutrient that supports your children's focus and attention

A nutrient that supports your children's focus and attention

A new study finds that school-age children who consumed more isoflavones found in soybeans showed better thinking and attention skills.

These findings pave the way for future research to uncover how soy products can positively impact children's cognitive abilities.

Isoflavones are compounds found naturally in many plants, especially soybeans and soy products. Although previous research in adults has suggested that soy isoflavones can improve memory, their benefits have not been well studied in children.

“Our study adds evidence that nutrients in soy foods are important for childhood cognition,” said Ajla Pristina, a doctoral student in neuroscience at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

To examine the potential benefits of soy isoflavones, the researchers examined previously available data from a cross-sectional study of 128 children aged 7 to 13. They used information from 7-day diet records to calculate each child's average dietary intake, including the amounts of macronutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, and isoflavones consumed.

To assess the children's general intellectual ability, the researchers used a battery of pen-and-paper tests adjusted for grade level. They also measured attentional abilities using a computerized task known as the "flank task," while electroencephalogram (EEG) activity was recorded and used to measure information processing speed and attention.

“No other studies have examined the relationship between soy isoflavones and attentional abilities using electroencephalograms or similar measures of recording electrical activity generated by the brain,” Pristina said.

She said the children in the study consumed 0 to 35 mg of isoflavones per day, describing this amount as "relatively low," but saying it was "in line with previously reported values ​​for the United States."

Overall, the analysis revealed that children in the study tended to consume lower amounts of soy foods containing isoflavones. However, those who consumed more soy foods showed faster responses during tasks requiring concentration and demonstrated faster processing speed. No association was observed between soy isoflavone intake and general intellectual ability.

Pristina recommends incorporating more soy into children's diets, stressing that "correlational studies like this are just the first step."

In order to better understand the effects of soy products on children's cognitive abilities and the exact amount of isoflavone intake, the research team recently began a clinical trial to examine their effects on thinking abilities, sex hormones, metabolic health and gut health.

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