Relax. Take a deep breath. Feel the cool rush of air fill your lungs. Doesn’t that feel nice? You pretty much get to do that every day of your life, and it’s absolutely free. Isn’t that swell? Wouldn’t you like to protect that feeling from the ravages of lung disease? Well then, you may want to think about putting a little more fiber in your diet.
A study put out by the American Thoracic Society has found that a high-fiber diet may reduce the risk of lung disease. Using data gathered in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers were able to determine that folks with the highest fiber intakes had greater lung capacity and could exhale more air than those people who consumed the least amount of fiber.
The scientists compared those in the top 25% of fiber consumers–people who ate more than 17.5 grams per day–with those in the bottom 25% percent–those consuming less than 10.75 grams–and found that 68.3% of the high-fiber group had normal lung function and that only 14.8% had airway restriction. On the other hand, 50.1% of the low-fiber group had normal lung function and 29.8% had airway restriction.
That authors believe that fiber may help reduce the risk of lung disease in two ways. Previous studies have indicated that fiber reduces inflammation, and inflammation often underlies various lung diseases. Secondly, fiber has also been shown to positively change the gut’s microbiome which might reduce infections and “release natural lung-protective chemicals to the body.”
“If further studies confirm the findings of this report, Hanson believes that public health campaigns may one day “target diet and fiber as safe and inexpensive ways of preventing lung disease.”
Source: American Thoracic Society
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