Eating apples, tomatoes can keep your lungs healthy

Toni Houston
December 24, 2017

Eating more fruits may help to improve lung function among people who have quit smoking, according to new research.

If you have kicked the smoking habit but are anxious about the strength of your lungs, eating a lot of fresh tomatoes and fruits - especially apples - can slow your decline in lung function caused by your cigarettes, according to a study at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. When a person smokes, their lung capacity gradually shrinks; this study suggests that tomatoes and fruits might actually help to restore lung damage caused by smoking.

The researchers also inquired about several different dietary sources like dishes as well as processed foods that contain fruits in addition to vegetables-like tomato sauce-however, the effect had only been observed in fruits and veggies that were fresh.

A study published Thursday in the European Respiratory Journal looked at 680 people's food consumption over 10 years, finding those who ate at least three portions of fruit every day experienced a slower decline in lung function.

"It also suggests that a diet rich in fruits can slow down the lung's natural aging process even if you have never smoked", said lead author Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, an assistant professor of worldwide health.

For the study, about 650 adults underwent tests analysing lung function, after which the same test was performed 10 years later to determine how the participants' lungs aged over time. This way, researchers hope they can reduce smokers' chances to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). "The findings support the need for dietary recommendations, especially for people at risk of developing respiratory diseases such as COPD".

One test measures how much air a person can expel in a second, the other how much they could inhale in six seconds. The study controlled for age, height, sex, body mass index, socioeconomic status, physical activity, and total energy intake.

Ex-smokers may be able to fix their lungs with a diet rich in apples and tomatoes, according to a new report. The subjects lived in Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

And the benefits of eating tomatoes, in particular, are not limited to ex-smokers.

"Lung function starts to decline at around age 30, at variable speed depending on the general and specific health of individuals", she explains.

But she stressed that for people with actual lung illnesses, such as COPD, diet should be seen as a helpful adjunct to medication, not a substitute.

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