One food has the potential to save many of the almost 500,000 Americans who die each year from smoking-related diseases.
That’s the conclusion of a new study that shows eating a tomato-rich diet can help repair lungs damaged by smoking and aging.1
Smoking leads to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and early death. Quitting smoking reduces the risk but doesn’t eliminate it.
Studies show that depending on how much they smoked, ex-smokers lose up to 10 years of lifespan. But a new Johns Hopkins University study shows eating at least two tomatoes a day may increase longevity in smokers and ex-smokers.
Researchers followed 680 adults for 10 years. The subjects included smokers, ex-smokers, and people who never smoked. The average age of the participants at the start of the study was 44.
Each subject answered detailed questionnaires about their diet. At the beginning and end of the 10-year study, each person’s lung function was tested.
After age 35, lung function begins to weaken whether you smoke or not. But researchers found that ex-smokers who consumed more than two fresh tomatoes a day had a 15% slower decline during the study compared to those who ate less than one tomato a day.2
Dr. Vanessa Garcia-Larsenis is an assistant professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health. She was lead author of the research. “This study shows that diet might help repair lung damage in people who have stopped smoking,” she said.3
The researcher was published recently in the European Respiratory Journal.
Eat Two Fresh Tomatoes a Day for Stronger Lungs
While tomato intake was associated with the slowest decline in lung health, people who ate three or more portions of other fruits—like apples and bananas—each day also had better lung health at the end of the study.4
The researchers cautioned that the study did not find lung benefits from eating processed fruits, such as tomato sauce. The protective effect was found only with fresh fruits.
Nutrients and antioxidants often are lost during commercial processing of foods.
The Healthiest Kind of Tomato
Tomatoes contain phytonutrient compounds, such as lycopene, that are natural antioxidants. Not only do they help keep your lungs healthy, they also are great for your heart. They have been shown to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol.5
But different types of tomatoes can have vastly different levels of phytonutrients. They vary depending on how the tomatoes are grown and what type they are.
Much of the nutrition of tomatoes is in the skin. Cherry and grape tomatoes have the greatest skin to flesh ratio. Therefore, they provide the most nutrients. They can contain over three times the nutrients of larger varieties.
One more thing… Always try to buy organic. You’ll get more nutrients—without any unhealthy chemical pesticide residues.6
Editor’s Note: A small group of holistic doctors were quietly discovering cancer breakthroughs. Then, when word of their effective therapies started getting out, something terrible started happening… The doctors started disappearing.
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