We know that the lungs are very delicate organs – which is why lung cancer is such a miserable disease.
But new research suggests that you might be able to reverse some lung damage, even if it’s smoking-related.
Scientists from John Hopkins School of Public Health claim that eating two tomatoes and more than three portions of apples a day might slow down the decline in lung function.
But it only works when both fruits are fresh – canned alternatives don’t work.
In the UK currently, around 1.2 million people are living with some kind of lung cancer, and 90% of those are thought to have smoked, so this new research could be huge for those determined to stop smoking before it’s too late.
The study looked at the lung function of more that 650 adults in 2002, and then repeated the tests 10 years later.
Participants from Germany, Norway and the UK also completed questionnaires about their diet and overall nutritional intake, as well as undergoing a spirometry – a procedure that measures the capacity of the lungs to take in oxygen.
Age, height, sex, BMI, physical activity and other factors were also taken into consideration.
And researchers found that those who ate diets rich in tomatoes and apples had a slower decline in lung function over the decade period, suggesting that those foods might go some way to repairing damage caused by smoking.
‘Lung function starts to decline at around age 30 at variable speed depending on the general and specific health of individuals,’ says Dr Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, lead author.
‘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.’
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