According to new research, published in The BMJ, besides giving up smoking, maintaining a balanced diet of rich in whole grains, polyunsaturated fats and nuts can help reduce the risk of chronic lung disease.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is an umbrella term for chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema and bronchitis, which block the airways and restrict oxygen flow around the body, and is currently ranked the third leading cause of death worldwide.
Although efforts to prevent COPD should continue to focus on smoking cessation, these prospective findings support the importance of a healthy diet in multi-interventional programmes to prevent COPD.
Although the predominant risk factor for COPD is cigarette smoking, up to one third of COPD patients have never smoked, suggesting that other factors are involved.
The researchers investigated the association between the Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 (AHEI-2010), a measure of diet quality, and the risk of COPD by analyzing data for more than 120,000 US men and women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study conducted between 1984 to 2000 and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study conducted between 1986 to 1998.
They found that the risk of newly diagnosed COPD was one third lower in participants who ate the healthiest AHEI-2010 diet compared with those who ate the least healthy diet.