Earlier this month I told you how exercising can help kick the habit of smoking. And now according to a new study, you may also be able to help repair damage done to your lungs by smoking… simply by trading in your ashtray for a fruit bowl!
Puffing on cigarettes can seriously reduce your lung capacity over time, leaving you gasping for air. And, of course, snuffing out your smoking habit is the best way to halt the damage to your airways.
British researchers questioned 650 adults about their diets and tested their lung function – and when they repeated the tests 10 years later, it turned out that those who ate the most fruit had better lung capacity than those who ate the least.
And that was after the researchers controlled for other factors that affect lung function like age, weight, and activity level.
What’s more, while all of the participants in the study reaped lung benefits from eating fruit, the benefits were even more pronounced among former smokers, suggesting that fruit may help undo the harm of cigarettes.
Now, the real stars of the fruit basket were apples and tomatoes (which are technically fruits, even though they’re often prepared like vegetables) – because they slowed lung function decline more than anything else in the produce aisle.
The theory is that lycopene – a powerful antioxidant found in red fruits like apples and tomatoes – can reduce airway inflammation and allow you to breathe much easier.
But you don’t need to limit yourself to the red stuff – because all fruits contain plant compounds called flavonoids, which are known to improve the ability of your lungs to do their job.
So, whether you’re on your last cigarette… or never smoked your first… you can protect and rejuvenate your lungs with a rainbow of fruit.
Add some bright berries to your morning yoghurt… toss cherry tomatoes into your lunchtime salad… grab an apple and a handful of nuts as a snack… and try a colourful fruit salad as an evening dessert.
Just don’t expect to get the same benefits from fruits that come in a can or jar – because the study showed that processed foods that contain fruit (like canned tomato sauce) didn’t improve lung function.
Only the fresh stuff worked!
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Eating apples and tomatoes daily may help repair lung damage in ex-smokers, published online, independent.co.uk/life-style/lung-damage-repair-eating-apples-tomatoes-ex-smokers-cigarettes-tobacco-study-a8124721.html