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Diet Rich in Vitamin C Linked to Better Lung Function

Armen Hareyan's picture

Vitamin C

Earlier studies have suggested that individuals who consume fewer fruits and vegetables, and therefore fewer antioxidants, such as vitamins C, E and beta-carotene, are at higher risk of developing asthma symptoms or reduced lung function.

Vitamin C is found in all fruits and vegetables and is in high concentrations in green peppers, oranges and other citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, papaya and watermelon.

In the first study to look at this relationship in a healthy, well-nourished population of young adults, Ira B. Tager and colleagues from the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco studied the effect of diet on lung function in 243 first-year college students.

These students completed a food frequency questionnaire, provided a sample of their DNA and participated in a test of lung function.

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The researchers focused on measures that reflect the function of the smaller airways of the lung due to their importance in asthma, ozone-induced airway damage, and cigarette smoke-induced chronic obstructive lung disease.

They found that vitamin C intake from foods was associated with higher lung function, especially among female students.

Magnesium, a trace mineral found in peanuts, beans, and dark green leafy vegetables, was also strongly associated with lung function in males and to a lesser extent in females.

This report adds to a growing body of research suggesting that dietary antioxidants play an important role in protecting respiratory health.

Title of the original article: Antioxidant intake, GSTM1 polymorphism and pulmonary function in healthy young adults.