Boost fiber for lung health
Eating high fiber foods is a message that you have probably heard for many years. It does not mean that we always follow through, but I think that we have an understanding that high fiber foods can help manage body weight, lower both cholesterol and blood pressure, even out glucose levels after a meal, and of course, support normal bowel function.
Researchers have also found a positive association between a high fiber diet and healthy lung function. Here is more from this study reported in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.
The NHANES nutrition study of 1,900 adults assessed airflow restriction and dietary fiber intake. The highest dietary fiber intake was associated with the highest percentage of folks with normal lung function. Fewer of this group had restricted airflow. The opposite was true for those with the lowest fiber intake – there was more airflow restriction.
Dietary fiber comes from three primary sources: fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains.
Researchers have found that high fiber foods seem to be anti-inflammatory and contain anti-oxidants that might protect lung function. This study found fruits and vegetables to be more protective than the grains, but other lung studies have found the opposite to be true! So enjoy all natural sources of dietary fiber throughout the day.
Getting in dietary fiber throughout the day:
- Add fresh seasonal or frozen fruit to your whole-grain breakfast cereal.
- Spinach, tomato slices and bell peppers are delicious stuffed into a whole-grain wrap at lunchtime.
- A stir fry at dinner can include lots of veggies, and be served over brown rice or quinoa.
- Snacks on nuts, seasonal fruits and raw veggies.
A high fiber diet! What an inexpensive way to possibly protect our lungs. This is an especially important message for smokers and ex-smokers who are at the greatest risk for lung diseases such as COPD or Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease.
Recipes to try:
About the Author
Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.