Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is now the third leading cause of death. The good news is that in addition to smoking cessation there are dietary interventions that can help prevent COPD.
Preventing COPD With Diet,
Image thanks to LeRoy Woodson via Wikimedia Commons.
The three top killers are no longer heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Stroke moved down to #4. Number 3 is now COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory disease like emphysema. We know we can prevent and even help treat the other top killers with diet, what about COPD? There’s still some coal mining going on but 80-90% is from smoking. So what does diet have to do with it?
Well, data dating back 50 years found that high intake of fruits and vegetables intake was positively associated with pulmonary function, lung function in general, but does that mean it could prevent COPD? There’s been a burst of new research over the last ten years to answer just that question.
In 2002 we learned that every extra serving of fruit we add to our daily diet may reduce our risk of getting and then eventually dying from COPD. In 2006 we could add tea drinking to fruits and vegetables for COPD prevention.
In 2007 a twin pair of studies emerged, one from Columbia, one from Harvard implicating cured meat—bacon, balogna, ham, hot dogs, sausage, salami—as a risk factor for developing COPD. They thought the nitrite preservatives in the meat may be mimicking the damage done by the nitrites from cigarette smoke. In 2008 Harvard decided to study women as well, and found the same thing.
So now we know what to eat, what to stay away from. In 2009 soy was added to the good list, both tofu and soymilk found protective against COPD, protective against breathlessness. 2009 more evidence for the benefits of vegetables, and 2010, the benefits of fiber, especially from whole grains, but this is the study we’ve all been waiting for. Sure the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects of plant foods can help prevent COPD, but what if you already have it?
Stay tuned for tomorrow's video.
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For killers one and two see my 79 videos on heart disease and my 95videos on cancer. I also have a few other videos on lung health including Deep Frying Toxins and Is Artificial Butter Flavor Harmful?. For more on the dangers of processed meat, see Bacon and Botulism. There are also hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects. Finally, please note that most of the sources for this video are open access, so you can download them by clicking on the links above in the Sources Cited section.