fruit prevents chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD

The leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is smoking. So, here’s another reason why, if you smoke, you should eat lots of fruit. If you don’t smoke, you should eat lots of fruit too.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease. Because it causes obstructed airflow from the lungs, people with COPD experience difficulty breathing, cough, wheezing and mucous. If that sounds like emphysema or bronchitis, it’s because those two conditions are the two most common conditions that contribute to COPD. Other possible symptoms of COPD include chest tightness, blue lips or fingernails, respiratory infections, fatigue and swelling in the legs, ankles of feet. You may also feel the need to clear your throat when you wake up.

In most cases, the cause of COPD is smoking, though it can also be caused by second hand smoke, air pollution and exposure to dust, smoke and chemical fumes. There may also be a genetic component.

A twelve year study looked at what effect eating fruits and vegetables could have on the risk of developing COPD. The study followed 34,739 women between the ages of 48 and 83. Though eating vegetables did not seem to make a difference, long-term fruit consumption made a significant difference. Women who ate the most fruit had a 37% lower risk of COPD than women who ate the least. Women who ate the most fruit had 2.5 servings a day or more—which is easy to achieve; women wo ate the least ate less than 0.8 servings a day.

What about if you smoke, since that’s the leading cause of COPD. Though the relationship between smoking, fruit and COPD did not reach significance, the numbers seemed pretty big. Current smokers who eat less than a serving a day of fruit had a 38 times higher risk of COPD than nonsmokers who eat 3 or more servings of fruit a day; ex-smokers who eat less than one serving of fruit a day still had 13 times the risk of COPD than nonsmokers who eat 3 or more servings of fruit a day.

So, eating lots of fruit may be a simple way of preventing COPD. And it can’t hurt, since it will deliver al kinds of other health benefits as well.

A much earlier study also found that eating more fruit was associated with a 27% reduced risk of chronic nonspecific lung disease (Am J Epidemiol 1993;138(1):37-45).

Int J Epidemiol 2018;doi:10.1093/ije/dyy178

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The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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