A fibre-rich diet seems to ward off lung disease

A fibre-rich diet may reduce the risk of developing lung disease, according to research published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Adults in the top quartile of fibre intake, compared with those in the bottom quartile, are 18.2 per cent more likely to have normal lung function and 14 per cent less likely to have airway restriction, researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Centre have concluded.

They reviewed the records of 1,921 adults aged from 40 to 79 who participated in interviews and physical examinations between 2009 and 2010.

Those with the highest fibre intake also performed significantly better in breathing tests; they had a greater lung capacity and could exhale more air in one second than those in the lowest quartile.

The study’s lead author Corrine Hanson, an associate professor of medical nutrition, said: ‘Lung disease is an important public health problem, so it’s important to identify modifiable risk factors for prevention. However, beyond smoking very few preventative strategies have been identified. Increasing fibre intake may be a practical and effective way for people to have an impact on their risk of lung disease.’

The researchers adjusted for demographic and health factors, including smoking, weight and socioeconomic status, and found an independent association between fibre consumption and lung function.

Hanson believes that if further studies confirm the findings of this report public health campaigns may one day ‘target diet and fibre as safe and inexpensive ways of preventing lung disease’.

Fibre is found in berries, beans, nuts, whole grains and green vegetables. A fibre-rich diet is thought to prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers.


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