Fresh tomatoes are good for you. Grandmothers everywhere could have told us that. But that tomatoes improve lung health in ex-smokers?
Almost half a million people die every year in the U.S. from smoking. If you think about it, that’s a stunning statistic. So if we can find something that strengthens those lungs, we might be able to make a dent in that.
From that grim statistic above, the problem may seem obvious. But while smoking certainly
kicks lung deterioration into high gear, there are some related issues:
- As soon as you quit smoking, your lungs begin to heal. But the course of healing may take a long time. And ex-smokers (and even never-smokers) can still contract lung diseases.
- And lung health declines with age, in everybody. As we get older, our breathing muscles, lungs, and even our breath-control brain areas deteriorate (or let’s say, mellow with age).
Help may come from a recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins and published in the European Respiratory Journal. It showed apples and tomatoes improve lung health. Both were associated with a slower rate of lung health decline over a period of 10 years.
This study showed tomatoes and apples were effective for never-smokers as well as current and ex-smokers. But the tomatoes and apples had to be fresh. Tomato sauce? Sorry, no go.
And an earlier study published in the British Medical Journal found an association between eating tomatoes and a reduced COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) risk. Each extra serving per day reduced risk by 4-8%. But in this case, unlike the ERJ study, the reduced risk was only demonstrated for current and ex-smokers.
We all have lungs, and they can all use help. Tomatoes improve lung health for everyone. But if you’re an ex-smoker, fresh tomatoes (and apples) are your new best friends.