If you are a smoker, you may be thinking about quitting not only because of the risk of future disease and earlier mortality, but also because of the fatigue you may currently experience due to poor lung function. However, it typically takes a holistic approach to healing after years of smoking, and a new study reveals that some fruits may help to repair the lungs and slow age-related decline.
Which Fruits Fight Fatigue with Improved Lung Function?
For this study, 680 adults, with an average age of 43, had their lung capacity compared to their intake of various foods. This was done first in 2002, and then again in 2012 to measure the effect of fruit on aging of the lungs. Their lung capacity was measured by forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV) - how much they could breathe out - and forced vital capacity (FVC). Their range of fruit intake was divided into three. Each higher third of apple and banana intake was linked with 3.59mL and 3.69mL of FEV and FVC, respectively, being protected against aging every year. Higher intake of tomatoes was linked with 4.5mL of lung capacity, measured as FVC, being protected each year. Only tomato intake was found to have a significant effect when the figures were re-adjusted, among all volunteers. As for ex-smokers, apples, bananas and tomatoes were all significantly protective, as well as total fruit and herbal tea. Increased or maintained lung capacity means more oxygen can be delivered to the body, which means less fatigue and more energy.
Other Possible Recommendations for Ex-Smokers
Depending on your individual needs, targeted supplementation may be helpful in protecting and restoring lung function. For example, high-dose vitamin D supplementation can boost exercise capacity and respiratory muscle strength in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (sources on Life Extension article). Another useful supplement may be N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), which is a precursor to the powerful antioxidant glutathione. NAC has been shown to improve performance in lung function tests after exercise in people with COPD - the vast majority of studies are on people with clinically diagnosed illness, not those looking to fight aging. Other research has found no effect, as many participants were on corticosteroids and NAC only benefitted those who weren't taking them.
The anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, especially their end products EPA and DHA, may also boost lung function. One study has shown significant improvements in shortness of breath in volunteers taking EPA and DHA compared to the control group. These not only reduce inflammation, but also help to build healthy cell membranes.
Finally, some herbal remedies such as ginseng could be helpful if you are an ex-smoker returning to your old self. Lung function and ability to exercise were found to improve in volunteers taking ginseng compared to the placebo group. They also reduced flare-ups of COPD symptoms.
Although nutritional and herbal remedies such as those above can boost lung function, it is never a good idea to continue smoking. If emotional attachments or other issues are keeping you from quitting, and you are interested in Emotional Freedom Technique to help you kick the habit, contact me here or on my Facebook page.