According to researchers, smokers who eat lots of fruit and vegetables are less likely to develop chronic lung disease. Over 90 per cent of those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are smokers or ex-smokers. But only one in five smokers actually develop COPD - so there must be influences that mitigate this risk factor, either genetic, lifestyle or environmental.
Researchers at the University of Southampton, UK, have carried out the first study into diet and COPD in smokers. They find that those who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are at reduced risk. Specifically, those who ate more than three apples a week enjoyed protection from COPD. These were smokers consuming at least one pack of cigarettes a day.
It may be that antioxidants in fruits and vegetables can counteract the harmful free radicals in cigarette smoke, and so preserve the health of the lungs. So here's another reason to keep up your fruit and vegetable intake. But, of course, the best way to avoid COPD is to give up smoking.