British Lung Foundation
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Research -Tomato rich diet may reduce and reverse COPD

From USA site Medical News Today.

Kindly note I am only the postman. I have no medical knowledge to confirm or deny these findings. I say this as I know how desperate we all are to find cures for our lung conditions. But there is hope. One word of caution that I do know. Tomato's being a member of the Deadly Nightshade family can exacerbate arthritis. Best wishes-

Tomatoes may restore lung damage caused by lung damage caused by smoking Published Friday 29 December 2017 By Hannah Nichols Fact checked by Jasmin Collier From cutting skin cancer risk in half to supporting the immune system, a diet rich in tomatoes and fruits imparts many health benefits. Now, researchers have found that these foods may restore lung function in ex-smokers and slow lung function decline in all adults. A tomato-rich diet may slow smoking- and age-related lung function decline. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD, conducted the study. The findings were published in the European Respiratory Journal. Every year, around 55.4 percent of all adult smokers attempt to quit smoking. Smoking cessation dramatically reduces the risk of disease, including lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer, as well as early death. Lung health after stopping smoking has been a topic that has garnered interest among ex-smokers and health professionals alike. The lungs begin to heal as soon as smoking is ceased. While the response is quick to start, lung improvement is incremental and can take many years. Furthermore, quitting smoking alone does not entirely erase the risk of developing a smoking-related lung disease. Another factor to consider is that the lungs are fully mature by 20–25 years of age. After 35 years old, lung function begins to decline, and breathing becomes gradually more difficult. In a nutshell: the diaphragm weakens, which decreases the ability to breathe in and out; muscles that keep airways open lose elasticity; alveoli lose their shape; and the area of the brain that regulates breathing sends weaker signals to the lungs. Previous research published by The BMJ has demonstrated that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of COPD in current and former smokers. In fact, each extra daily serving was linked to a 4–8 percent lower risk. The new study goes one step further to suggest that consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables — particularly tomatoes and apples — slows down the decline in lung function among ex-smokers over the duration of 10 years. Slower lung deterioration among all adults Compared with adults who consumed fewer than one serving of fruit or one tomato per day, those who ate more than three portions of fruit or more than two tomatoes experienced slower lung function decline. The scientists asked questions about other dietary and processed sources of fruits and vegetables, such as tomato sauce, but the protective effect was only apparent among those who ate fresh fruits and vegetables. This finding suggests that there may be particular components in fresh tomatoes and apples that help to repair the lung damage that results from smoking. What is more, a slower deterioration in lung function was observed in all adults in the study who ate a tomato-rich diet — including those who had never smoked. "This study," says lead study author Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, who works as an assistant professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health, "shows that diet might help repair lung damage in people who have stopped smoking. It also suggests that a diet rich in fruits can slow down the lung's natural aging process even if you have never smoked." "The findings," she adds, "support the need for dietary recommendations, especially for people at risk of developing respiratory diseases such as COPD." Diet could help to combat COPD Garcia-Larsen and her team evaluated diet and performed lung function tests, including spirometry, among more than 650 adults from Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom in 2002 and again 10 years later. The connection between diet and lung function was most pronounced among ex-smokers. When the volume of air they could inhale was measured, former smokers who consumed a tomato- and fruit-rich diet had around 80 milliliter slower decline in lung function over 10 years. This indicates that specific nutrients could be playing a role in healing the damage caused by smoking. "Our study suggests that eating more fruits on a regular basis can help attenuate the decline as people age, and might even help repair damage caused by smoking. Diet could become one way of combating rising diagnosis of COPD around the world." Vanessa Garcia-Larsen The study controlled for factors such as age, sex, height, body mass index (BMI), total energy intake, and physical activity to ensure that the results were not skewed.

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9 Replies

Very important and accessible research which we can all get on board with, if we don't already eat in this way. I find tomatoes hard to manage due to reflux, but eat loads of other veg. I'll be thinking of ways to incorporate tomatoes into my diet that would be easier on the digestion.

"Furthermore, quitting smoking alone does not entirely erase the risk of developing a smoking-related lung disease" - as known all too well by the numbers of members here who quit smoking a good while before diagnosis.

Thanks for the post Tryfan and HNY :)


I miss your Birds of Wisdom btw


Hi Tryfan, thanks for your post .....I have been making smoothies and soups to try and incorporate more fruit and veg into my diet. I use a lot of canned tomatoes although I do have arthritis in my hands and spine.

Hope you are well, like O2 Trees I miss your words and birds of wisdom

I noticed that Storm Eleanor caused gales in Capel Curig recently.

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Ive read quite a lot about the best way to eat tomatoes, knitter, cooked or raw. They contain lycopene (as do grapefruits), and my mind has gone blank on why this is a good thing, but it is!! And the way to get the most lycopene into your system is through cooking the tomatoes.

But whether lycopene is the important constituent for copd improvement Ive no idea.


Lycopene. Released when cooking tomatoes. Its the natural red colour. Powerful antioxidant.For better info see htts// Dr Axe Gives 7 major benefits.


Thanks for the post Tryfan, I buy boxes of tomatoes when the supermarket reduces their prices and make up soup with a stash for the freezer. I use the recipe from 30 minute meals as I love garlic but have to be careful with having rheumatoid arthritis.


If lycopene is the essential component then the efficacy of it should be the same for all bright red carotene and carotenoid pigmented berries and fruits; raspberries, cranberries, carrots, etc. I don't know if this compound can be bought as a dietary supplement, but pharma companies are quick to sell anything which is medically beneficial and topical.

Further to the above, a quick question asked of Siri returned the following:

"Fruits and vegetables that are high in lycopene include autumn olive, gac, tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, papaya, seabuckthorn, wolfberry (goji, a berry relative of tomato), and rosehip. Ketchup is a common dietary source of lycopene. Although gac (Momordica cochinchinensis Spreng) has the highest content of lycopene of any known fruit or vegetable (multiple times more than tomatoes), tomatoes and tomato-based sauces, juices, and ketchup account for more than 85% of the dietary intake of lycopene for most people. The lycopene content of tomatoes depends on species and increases as the fruit ripens."


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Thanks. I understand for Toms it also depends on the cooking. I did read cooked in pan, dish with a glug of Olive Oil for at least 5 or 6 mins.


Hi Tryfan

Yes good post - you are correct about them being in the nightshade family as are potatoes. Raw potatoes are poisonous to the body and I cannot eat raw tomatoes but am absolutely fine with them cooked :-) The beneficial lycopenes are released when they are cooked.

Tinned tomatoes on toast with lashings of pepper :-) and used in bolognese, curries etc.

:-) It's all about educating ourselves isn't it?

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