Fruits and Veggies Fortify Smokers Against Disease

Aug 02, 2002

New research finds that eating lots of fruit and vegetables can cut the risk of smoking-related diseases, reports Evidence to support the diet link was published this week in the European Respiratory Journal.

A study of 300 smokers older than 45 who had smoked the equivalent of a pack of 20 cigarettes a day for a decade, found that diet was a significant factor. The risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive and incurable combination of bronchitis and emphysema, dropped by more than half when smokers ate more than 121 grams of fruit and vegetables daily. The study suggests that it is the combination of fruit and vegetables that is important in disease prevention, rather than the sheer quantity of each.

“No other food groups such as fish and dairy, or proteins, fats and snack items were significantly protective or harmful,” says study leader, Dr Louise Watson from the University of Southampton. She continues saying this suggests that the effect is specific to fruit and vegetables and not due to the effect of COPD on overall calorie or food intake. Dr Watson adds that while eating well might reduce the chances of falling ill, there was still an increased risk compared to someone who gave up smoking entirely.

Moderator Comment: Are grocery retailers clearly defining themselves as whole health “providers” in the eyes of consumers? If not, should they be? If yes, what are best practices for accomplishing this? [George
Anderson – Moderator

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