Past and current smokers can lower the risks of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD., by eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
Swedish researchers studied 44,000 men between the ages of 45 and 79 over a 13-year period. About one in four were current smokers and almost two-thirds were former smokers.
The research, published in the Thorax, found just over 1,900 new cases of COPD during the study period. Current and former smokers, who ate more than five servings of fruits and vegetables every day were 40 percent and 34 percent less likely to develop the lung disease, respectively. For each additional serving above five, researchers discovered a 4 percent lower risk of COPD in former smokers and an eight percent reduction in risk in current smokers.
Scientists did not see any benefit in eating lots of fruits and vegetables in reduction of COPD risks for non-smokers.
Researchers believe it’s the anti-oxidants in fruits and vegetables that could help curb or reduce the harmful effects of smoking.
Chronic lower respiratory disease, primarily COPD, was the third leading cause of death in the U.S in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost 16 million Americans reported being diagnosed with the lung disease.