Dietary interventions, including increasing fruit and vegetable intake and decreasing meat intake, may not only help slow the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but may actually improve lung function.
Images thanks to Karl
120 COPD patients were randomized them into two groups. Half were told to boost their fruit and vegetable consumption, and the other half stayed on their regular diet. The intervention group was told to eat at least one more serving a day of fruits or vegetables, and they did, and they did for three years. More fruit, and more vegetables, than control.
Here’s the control group. Slowly but surely they got worse. That’s what happens in COPD, emphysema, you get worse and worse, then you die. The group told to eat at least one more serving of fruits or vegetables every day, started out the same, but didn’t get worse. One year, two year, three year. In fact if anything it looks like their lung function got a little better. That’s not supposed to happen; you’re supposed to get worse.
Could be the antioxidant effect of fruits and vegetables, could be the anti-inflammatory effect, or, frankly it may not directly be the fruits and vegetables at all. When you eat more of one thing, you tend to eat less of another. For example, the addition of fruit and vegetables resulted in a decreased consumption of meat, which is known to be a pro-oxidant. Either way, though, there is now hope. These findings suggest that a dietary shift to higher-antioxidant food intake may be associated with improvement in lung function, and, in this respect, dietary interventions might be considered in COPD management.
The tobacco industry viewed these landmark findings a little differently. Instead of adding fruits and vegetables to ones diet to prevent emphysema, wouldn’t it be simpler to just add them to the cigarettes? And whallah, the addition of acai berries to cigarettes evidently had a protective effect against emphysema in smoking mice.
Next they’re going to try to add berries into meat. I spoke too soon. Adding fruit extracts to burgers was not without its glitches, though. The blackberries literally dyed burger patties with a distinct purplish color… though infusing lamb carcasses with kiwifruit juice before rigor mortis sets in does evidently improve tenderness… and it is possible to improve the nutritional profile of frankurters with powdered grape seeds… though there were complaints that the grape seed particles were visible in the final product, and if there’s one thing we know about hot dog eaters, it’s that they’re picky about what goes in their food.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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See also the "prequel" to this video, Preventing COPD with Diet, and the 10 other videos on reversing chronic disease. What's in a Burger? and What is Really in Hot Dogs? may also be of interest. And if you were going to infuse lamb carcasses with kiwi fruit juice, would the juice of green or yellow kiwis be healthier? See Antioxidant content of 3,139 foods. Though there are only 4 videos on kiwi fruits, there are hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects.
Check out my associated blog posts for more context: Eating To Extend Our Lifespan, Treating COPD with Diet, Preventing and Treating Kidney Failure With Diet, Heading Shrinking from Grilling Meat, The Science of Acai Berries, and Raspberries Reverse Precancerous Lesions