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An Apple a Day Can Keep the Lung Doctor Away!
Health and Wellness Articles by Pulse

An Apple a Day Can Keep the Lung Doctor Away!


Eating the right foods can help keep our lungs healthy, improve overall lung function, and reduce the severity of symptoms from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and even cancer.


Eating a balanced diet – one full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – while avoiding processed foods is key. Here are some specific foods that have a positive impact on your lungs:


1. Apples

Apples can be beneficial because they contain a high level of antioxidants. Our lungs are highly susceptible to oxidative stress, which causes inflammation in breathing passageways. Therefore, foods with antioxidant properties are beneficial.

In several studies, having 5 or more apples per week was shown to improve lung function and reduce the risk of developing COPD (although do note that these studies were completed in generally healthy, middle-aged men!). Apples have also been found to be beneficial in reducing the risk of lung cancer and asthma.


2. Beets

Beetroots are rich in a compound called nitrate which can improve lung function and increase exercise capacity. They are also thought to have anti-cancer, protective effects on lung cells.

In one study, having beetroot juice before exercising increased exercise performance and reduced blood pressure in those with COPD.


3. Peppers

Peppers contain high levels of vitamin C, which act as an antioxidant. If you are a smoker, vitamin C has shown to help improve lung function. Cigarette smoke often causes oxidative damage resulting in chronic inflammation, making it difficult to breathe. This can be lessened through regular vitamin C intake.


4. Red Cabbage

Red cabbage contains an antioxidant called anthocyanin which can help with lung function. As we age, our lung function declines and anthocyanin has been shown to help slow that decline.


5. Blueberries

Blueberries also contain high levels of anthocyanin. A study done by Veterans Affairs on a group of over 800 men in the United States showed that having more than 2 servings of blueberries per week helped prevent lung function decline.

Blueberries have also been shown to reduce levels of inflammation in the body that can help with lung function.


As you may already know, your lifestyle and diet can have a huge impact on your health, especially lung function. Healthy, nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables can be easily incorporated into your regular diet with practice. Think about starting off with smoothies and salads!

If you have more questions about how to better incorporate the ‘right’ foods into your diet, talk to a healthcare professional or dietician.



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