Ex-smoker? If so, an apple-tomato diet might fix your lungs

Posted December 24, 2017

Ex-smokers with a diet high in tomatoes and fruit, especially apples, experience a slower decline in lung function as they age, a study suggests.

This link between diet and slower reductions in lung function was even more striking among former smokers, suggesting that nutrients in tomatoes and fresh fruit may help fix lung damage caused by smoking. 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. The same benefits were not seen in terms of lung health when the people had processed foods that included fruits and vegetables, like tomato sauce.

The study found that adults who are more than two tomatoes or more than three portions of fresh fruits had slower decline in lung function as compared to those who did not eat that much. The highest tomato consumption was linked to slower decline in lung function among all adults, including both never-smokers and ex-smokers. "It also suggests that a diet rich in fruits can slow down the lungs natural ageing process even if you have never smoked". This beneficial effect can be achieved by eating two tomatoes and three apples every day.

Other scientists said eating a daily diet of leafy vegetables reduces brain aging by about 11 years. It added that this kind of diet heals damages caused by smoking.

"The findings support the need for dietary recommendations, especially for people [with a history of smoking] at risk of developing respiratory diseases such as COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease]", Garcia-Larsen said in a Hopkins news release. Though, there is the weak point in the study as the diet of participants only get analysed in the staring of a disease.

Additionally they were given a spirometry test that measures how much oxygen their lungs can take in.

According to the researchers, apart from keeping the lungs young, tomatoes also help to decrease the risk of prostate cancer and heart diseases. The study controlled for factors such as age, height, sex, body mass index (an indicator of obesity), socio-economic status, physical activity and total energy intake. With age, our lungs start to decline and lose vitality.

"Diet could become one way of combating rising diagnosis of COPD around the world", said Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, the school's assistant professor.