Professor Seif Shaheen A diet rich in nutrition and low in fats is usually preferred to overcome obesity and remain healthy. It now seems that our diet also influences the health of the lungs. A large UK study suggests that a sensible diet helps in avoiding chronic lung conditions. The benefits of a healthy diet were probably stronger in men who smoked.

The study was commenced on 1,551 men and 1,391 women with an average age of 66 years. The authors noted that participants consuming a diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish and wholegrain products reported a much better lung function as compared to those living on a diet rich in fat, sugar and processed food. The researchers examined the diets of the study participants every day.

Seif Shaheen, Professor of Respiratory Epidemiology at Barts and The London School of Medicine and the study author highlighted, “Whilst cessation of smoking is still the number one way to improve lung health, this study is important because it suggests that cases of COPD might be prevented if people, especially male smokers, ate more fruit and vegetables, oily fish and wholegrain cereals, and less white bread, sugar, full fat dairy products, fried food and processed meat. However, the only way to confirm this would be to carry out a randomized controlled trial.”

In order to inspect the lung function of the volunteers, researchers employed a spirometer. It is a device which measures the amount of air a person can blow out of their lungs in one second. The test seemingly enabled scientists to gauge how healthy the lungs are and to ascertain if any blockage or obstruction exists in the airways. People with obstructed airways were probably suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

It is assumed that a healthy diet influences the lung condition because it is rich in antioxidants that come from fruit and whole grains, and the omega-3 fatty acids present in oily fish. These components may safeguard the lungs against the adverse effects of smoking. Therefore, men who smoke appeared to significantly benefit from the study.