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Diet for COPD Includes Lots of Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and veggies for COPD

Those affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD may want to include certain fruits and vegetables into their daily diet.


COPD is a progressive disease – meaning it gets worse over time – that causes difficulty breathing due to changes in the lung tissue. Less air flows in and out because of conditions such as an inflamed airway or an increase in mucus production. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD.

COPD is a major cause of disability, and it is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Unfortunately, it has no cure as doctors are unable to reverse the damage to done to the airways and lungs. However, treatments exist to help with symptoms, and that includes changing your diet to include more fruits and vegetables.

Researchers from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland, led by Joanna Kaluza, studied data collected over 13 years from 44,000 men between the ages of 45 and 79 – most of whom smoked at some point. During the study period, 1900 of them developed COPD.

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Participants who ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables were 35% less likely to develop COPD. Each additional serving of produce was tied to a 4% lower risk in former smokers and an 8% lower risk in current smokers.
Those who ate fewer than two portions of produce each day faced the greatest risk of developing the disease.

Those appearing to offer the most protection were apples, pears, green leafy vegetables and peppers.

The researchers believe that antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables may reduce tissue stress and inflammation that is central to the onset of COPD.

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Journal reference: Thorax, Feb 22, 2017
Additional resource: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
Photo Credit: By Goose friend - Own work, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons