How To Keep Your Lungs Younger
The more berries and grapes you eat, the healthier your lungs are likely to be as you age. Researchers from Johns Hopkins came to this conclusion after following 463 adults who were taking part in a European health survey. The study participants, whose average age was 44, first responded to a dietary questionnaire and then were tested to find out how much air they could forcefully exhale in one second and the amount they could exhale after taking a deep breath. After 10 years, the Hopkins researchers re-tested the study participants’ lung function and then looked at their consumption of grapes and berries. These fruits are rich in anthocyanins, plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The more anthocyanins in the diet, the better the lung function of the participants proved to be. This was true of the nonsmokers and former smokers in the study, but not of those who continued to smoke.
My take? These findings provide an excellent excuse to indulge in lots of berries and grapes. Any way you buy them – fresh, frozen or dried – berries are a healthful addition to your diet. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are sweet, provide anti-inflammatory benefits, and are a good source of fiber. They’re rich in flavonoids (including anthocyanins) and carotenoids and can help support healthy immunity. Because commercial strains of berries may be heavily sprayed with pesticides, I recommend buying only organic varieties. Grapes are rich sources of antioxidants including resveratrol, which can interfere with oxidation reactions that can damage cells. (Conventionally grown grapes are prone to increased levels of pesticides.)
Vanessa Garcia-Larsen et al, “Flavonoids may slow lung function decline due to aging.” Presentation at American Thoracic Society meeting, May 21, 2018, San Diego, CA
Also in this week’s bulletin: