- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 21, 2017

Eating two tomatoes or at least three servings of fruit a day can help repair lung damage caused by smoking, according to a new study by researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Researchers observed natural declines in lung function over a 10-year period and found that people who ate more tomatoes and fresh fruits and vegetables showed slower signs of decline compared to those who ate less than one tomato or one piece of fruit a day.

The protective effect was only found in fresh fruits and vegetables and not processed foods such as tomato sauce.

The findings are published in the December issue of the European Respiratory Journal and are part of a larger study of “Aging Lungs in European Cohorts,” funded by the European Commission and led by Imperial College London.

The researchers also observed a slower lung decline in adults who had the highest consumption of tomatoes, both in former smokers and those who’ve never smoked.

“This study shows that diet might help repair lung damage in people who have stopped smoking. It also suggests that a diet rich in fruits can slow down the lung’s natural aging process even if you have never smoked,” Dr. Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, assistant professor at Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health and lead author of the study, said in a statement.

“Lung function starts to decline at around age 30 at variable speed depending on the general and specific health of individuals,” she said. “Our study suggests that eating more fruits on a regular basis can help attenuate the decline as people age, and might even help repair damage caused by smoking. Diet could become one way of combating rising diagnosis of [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] around the world.”

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