Eating more tomatoes and fruit can improve lung function even in smokers

Eating more tomatoes and fruit can improve lung function even in smokers

The study was done by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the U.S. and found that smokers who consumed a diet with more apples and tomatoes had a lesser chance of lung dysfunctionality over a period of 10 years. 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. But researchers do know the fruits and vegetables must be fresh in order to have positive effects - they tested processed foods like tomato sauce and found no health benefits. Talking about the study, co-author Vanessa Garcia-Larsen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore said, "This study shows that diet might help fix lung damage in people who have stopped smoking".

Ex-smokers, who had a diet high in tomatoes, had around 80 ml slower decline over the 10 years.

Prof. Vanessa Garcia-Larsen of the Bloomberg School's department of global health and the study's lead author explained, "This study shows that diet might help fix lung damage in people who have stopped smoking".

The researchers also observed a slower lung decline in adults who had the highest consumption of tomatoes, both in former smokers and those who've never smoked.

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.

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Moreover, the people who never smoked also benefitted from eating generous amounts of tomatoes. This suggests that nutrients in their diets are helping to fix damage done by smoking.

One test measures how much air a person can expel in a second, the other how much they could inhale in six seconds.

Researchers hope to continue their investigations to confirm their results and believe their findings can be used to help patients at risk for respiratory diseases, including COPD.

Smoking and air pollution with microparticles often leads to the development of so-called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), when airways gradually narrow due to the inflammation of the lung tissue. With age, our lungs start to decline and lose vitality. Participants from three European countries - Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom - completed questionnaires assessing their diets and overall nutritional intake.

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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