Load your plate with these lung-rescuing foods

More than 30 years ago, Dr. Marc Micozzi and his colleagues at the National Cancer Institute conducted groundbreaking research showing that the carotenoid lycopene—which is commonly found in tomatoes—is essential for optimal lung health.

This link was recently confirmed in a study from Johns Hopkins University. Researchers compared diet and lung function in more than 650 volunteers in 2002 and again 10 years later.

In his Breathe Better Lung Health Protocol, Dr. Micozzi describes the results: “The researchers found that adults who ate more than two servings of tomatoes a day had better lung function and a slower rate of decline in lung function, which begins to happen normally after age 30.

“Among former smokers, the effect was even stronger, suggesting that this dietary factor helped repair damage done by tobacco to the lungs.”

But it’s not just tomatoes and lycopene that your lungs need to stay healthy.

Canadian researchers examined the roles of the carotenoids beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and lycopene, as well as vitamin C in the development of lung cancer.

Researchers collected dietary information from more than 1,100 people with lung cancer and nearly 1,500 people who were cancer-free. They zeroed in on how often the cancer patients ate fruits and vegetables in the two years prior to diagnosis.

Results showed that…

  • Higher beta-carotene levels had an average lung cancer risk reduction of 34 percent. Beta-carotene is found in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, leafy green vegetables, cantaloupe.
  • Higher beta-cryptoxanthin consumption had an average lung cancer risk reduction of 35 percent. Carotenoid is found in foods like red peppers, pumpkins, squash, and tangerines.
  • And higher lycopene levels had a 25 percent lower risk of lung cancer. And as I mentioned earlier, tomatoes are a top source of lycopene.

In addition, a higher intake of vitamin C was linked with a 26 percent reduction in lung cancer risk. And carotenoids showed to have a protective effect in men who were heavy smokers, while higher vitamin C also showed a protective effect in women who smoked heavily.

Smoking is not the only cause of lung cancer

In Dr. Micozzi’s view, these new studies clearly show there’s much more to lung health than what the mainstream has told us. More specifically, that smoking is by no means the only factor that drives lung cancer.

And he adds, “These new studies reinforce the common-sense recommendation to eat more fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods.”

Here are Dr. Micozzi’s specific lung-saving dietary recommendations:

  • Eat seven to eight servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day—especially carotenoid-rich produce such as carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, leafy green vegetables, squash, pumpkin, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, and tangerines.
  • Incorporate organic, fresh tomatoes into your weekly meal plans, year-round.

And for the most comprehensive, reliable protection, he recommends adding these daily supplements:

  • Vitamin C—500 mg, twice daily
  • Vitamin E—200 mg (be sure it includes all 8 forms of vitamin E—including both tocopherols and tocotrienols)
  • Lycopene—10 to 12 mg

With just these few modifications, Dr. Micozzi believes you’ll soon be breathing easier about your lung health, no matter what your smoking status might be.

Of course, these dietary recommendations are just one part of the comprehensive lung health strategy Dr. Micozzi features in his Breathe Better Lung Health Protocol.

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