According to a recent study, the researchers confirmed that people who consume high levels of vitamin C and magnesium tend to have healthier lungs. And for the first time, the research showed that people with high levels of vitamin C intake experience less decline in lung function over time. Just like an apple a day keeps the doctor away, an orange a day may help keep lung disease away, according this new research.
By minimizing the decline in lung function as time passes, a diet containing lots of foods rich in vitamin C may lower the odds of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Extending evidence proposes that vitamin C and other antioxidant vitamins and minerals may be involved in asthma and COPD, a group of illnesses that includes bronchitis and emphysema. Exactly how antioxidants keep lungs healthy is uncertain, though they are known to neutralize DNA-ravaging compounds called free radicals that contribute to aging and disease.
Tricia M. McKeever and colleagues at the University of Nottingham found in a study of more than 2,200 adults that high levels of vitamin C and magnesium both corresponded with healthier lungs based on a measure of lung function called forced expiratory volume 1, or FEV1. Nine years later, when the researchers were able to follow up with a little more than half of the original study participants, they confirmed these findings.
"McKeever felt that High vitamin C and magnesium intake are associated with higher levels of lung function,".She added that over a period of 9 years, those with higher levels of intake of vitamin C experienced less severe decline in lung function than those with lower levels of intake.
She added that a diet rich in food supplying these nutrients appears to be beneficial to lung health. She recommended getting enough vitamin C and other potentially lung-boosting nutrients by eating a healthy diet containing the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. US guidelines recommend 2 to 4 servings of fruit and 3 to 5 servings of vegetables each day.
The study did not show any effect of magnesium, vitamin E or vitamin A on the decline of lung function over time. An important area of future research, the authors point out, will be to see how soon in life the benefits of vitamin C and other nutrients begin, in order to see whether dietary changes can improve lung health once lung function has already started to decline.