Study: Healthier diet can stave lung disease

According to the National Institutes of Health, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung disease in which the lungs are damaged and airways are partly obstructed, making breathing difficult. It also is the fourth leading cause of death both in the United States and around the world.

According to World Health Organization estimates, 80 million people have moderate to severe COPD, with 3 million people having died from it in 2005 alone.

The primary method people develop COPD is through smoking. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, about one-fourth of Oklahomans smoke. Not everyone who smokes develops COPD, however, so a group of researchers from Harvard and other Boston universities sought to find what else plays a key role. They found diet also determines who gets the disease. 

The study, published in the May edition of the medical journal Thorax, concluded a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and chicken can go a long way to fight COPD.

Over the 12-year study period, the researchers found even after the data was adjusted for smoking, age and exercise, men who ate a healthier diet had a 50 percent reduced risk of getting COPD.

"Vegetables and fruits have protective effects," said Angelique Martin, an outpatient registered dietitian at Mercy Health Center. "A variety is the best way to go."

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables with darker colors like red peppers, tomatoes and broccoli, she said. Skip out on the iceberg lettuce that has basically no nutrients and other pale-veggies, as well. "Lisa Spinelli

  • or