Fruit and vegetables lower lung disease risk in smokers

May 29, 2001 in Healthy Eating

Fruit and vegetables lower lung disease risk in smokers

Smokers who consume moderate amounts of fruits and vegetables appear to reduce their risk of developing lung disease by almost half, according to a new study from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

The researchers looked at chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is characterized by shortness of breath, and in some cases, a chronic cough. COPD can be caused by emphysema, bronchitis or asthma. The study suggests that a single portion of vegetables and one and one-half portions of fruit per day can prevent COPD among smokers.

After adjusting for other independent factors associated with COPD, the researchers found that eating one portion of vegetables per day reduced the risk of COPD by almost half. Although the mechanism of this effect is unclear, the researchers suspect that the antioxidant content of fruits and vegetables is responsible. Antioxidants help prevent damage to healthy cells.

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