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Studies find eating fruits and vegetables good for lungs

SAN FRANCISCO--Eating fruits and vegetables appears to reduce the risk of developing some types of lung disease and may even improve lung function, according to research presented today at the American Thoracic Societys 97th International Conference here.

"There is extensive evidence from studies over the last 10 to 15 years that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial to lung health," said Carol Trenga, Ph.D., Research Scientist in the Department of Environmental Health at the University of Washington in Seattle, who moderated a press panel on diet and lung health. "The most compelling evidence is linked to fruits high in vitamin C, which are associated with improved lung function in the general population of adults and children."

Fruits and Vegetables Can Reduce COPD Risk in Smokers

Eating moderate portions of fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in smokers, according to a study presented at the American Thoracic Society conference.

The study found that eating one-and-a-half pieces of fruit or a large tablespoonful of vegetables every day can protect against COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis).

Louise Watson, MSc, who conducted the research at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom, wanted to know why approximately 15% of smokers develop COPD, while many smokers do not. Her study included current and former smokers with and without COPD who filled out a questionnaire about their food intake over the previous year. The 266 participants had at least 10 pack years of smoking history (meaning they had smoked at least 20 cigarettes per day, every day per year). She found that vegetable intake of one or more portions per day (equivalent to one or more tablespoons) almost halved the risk of the disease. Eating one-and-a-half pieces of fruit or more per day also significantly protected against COPD.

Watson noted that the best way for smokers to prevent lung disease and
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Contact: Jim Augustine
bpack@thoracic.org
415-978-3505
American Thoracic Society
20-May-2001


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