BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A recent study has found a diet rich in tomatoes and apples can help slow the decline of lung functionality among ex-smokers.
Researchers with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health studied more than 650 adults from Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom over a 10-year period. The participants who on average ate more than two tomatoes or more than three portions of fresh fruit a day had a slower decline in lung function compared to those who ate less than one tomato or less than one portion of fruit a day.
Researchers believe the study may show that produce may be especially helpful in healing lungs damaged by smoking cigarettes.
“This study shows that diet might help repair lung damage in people who have stopped smoking. It also suggests that a diet rich in fruits can slow down the lung’s natural aging process even if you have never smoked,” says Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, assistant professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health and the study’s lead author. “The findings support the need for dietary recommendations, especially for people at risk of developing respiratory diseases such as COPD.”
Poor lung function is associated with mortality risks from all diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and lung cancer. Lung and bronchus cancer is the deadliest cancer type in the U.S. and the second most common, according to the American Cancer Society.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the number of people who have kicked the habit now outnumbers the amount of current smokers in America. HHS says nearly 50 million people have given up smoking and begun their road to recovery.
Read more about the study here.