A review by researchers at the University of Southampton has revealed that there is substantial evidence to suggest that people who eat plenty of fruit and vegetables have a lower risk of poor respiratory health than those who eat unhealthier diets. The researchers believe that this may be due to the antioxidant nutrients in fruit and vegetables, which help to protect against inflammatory reactions and obstructed airways.
The review looked at scientific literature published since 1998 which explored the relationship between diet, asthma and obstructive lung disease. The collected evidence suggests that diet does indeed play a role in the incidence of asthma and it appears that an intake of vitamins C and E seems to have a beneficial association with respiratory health, as do the protective roles of beta-carotene and selenium.
“The evidence from the studies suggests that diet does play a role in the incidence of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but the causality of association cannot be confirmed because of the observational nature of most of the studies,” comments Dr Barrie Margetts. “However, on the basis of the evidence, it seems justified to promote a healthy diet, high in fruits, vegetable, and whole grain foods and low in alcohol and fatty foods.”
University of Southampton, June 23, 2003