Everyone knows now that smoking is dangerous. However, few past/present smokers understand how to help their lungs heal – at least long-term.
For instance, lungs begin to heal the moment you stop smoking. However, this healing process can take years, does not erase the risk of lung disease.
Not to mention, the lungs begin to decline after a person is 35 years of age. This makes it harder for the person to breathe.
Despite all this, findings by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health may provide some hope for ex-smokers and their lungs.
According to their research, a diet rich in vegetables and fruits can help reduce the risk of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) by as much as 4-8%.
This healthy diet of fruits and vegetables (and tomatoes and apples in particular) slows the rate of lung decline that ex-smokers experience over a 10-year period.
It is important to note that these fruits and vegetables must be fresh in order to receive full benefits. Things like canned produce and tomato sauce do not yield the same healthy outcomes.
What’s more interesting is that the research concludes that eating more than 3 portions of fruit (or more than 2 tomatoes) every single day yields the same benefits for people that have never smoked before.
As Medical News Today states:
“Garcia-Larsen and her team evaluated diet and performed lung function tests, including spirometry, among more than 650 adults from Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom in 2002 and again 10 years later.
The connection between diet and lung function was most pronounced among ex-smokers. When the volume of air they could inhale was measured, former smokers who consumed a tomato- and fruit-rich diet had around 80 milliliter slower decline in lung function over 10 years. This indicates that specific nutrients could be playing a role in healing the damage caused by smoking.
“Our study suggests that eating more fruits on a regular basis can help attenuate the decline as people age, and might even help repair damage caused by smoking. Diet could become one way of combating rising diagnosis of COPD around the world.”
The study controlled for factors such as age, sex, height, body mass index (BMI), total energy intake, and physical activity to ensure that the results were not skewed.”