Eat Healthy to Breathe Easy

Posted on March 31, 2016, 6 a.m.

Enjoying a healthy diet may help protect against the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

 

The third leading cause of death in the United States, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of lung diseases that block airflow to result in breathing problems.  Raphaelle Varrasso, from the French National Research Institute of Health and Medical Research (NSERM; France), and colleagues studied 73.228 women (participants in the Nurses’ Health Study) and 47,026 men (enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study), followed for over a decade.  Those men and women who ate a diet highest in whole grains, vegetables and nuts, and lowest in red meats and sugars were up to a third less likely to develop COPD – even if they smoked - than those who ate the worst diet.  Observing that: “A higher AHEI-2010 diet score (reflecting high intakes of whole grains, polyunsaturated fatty acids, nuts, and long chain omega-3 fats and low intakes of red/processed meats, refined grains, and sugar sweetened drinks) was associated with a lower risk of COPD in both women and men,” the study authors urge that: ‘These findings support the importance of a healthy diet in multi-interventional programs to prevent COPD.”

 

Varrasso R., Chiuve S., Fung TF, Barr RG, Hu FB, et al.  “Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 and risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among US women and men: prospective study.”  BMJ 2015;350:h286, 3 Feb. 2015.