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Eat Fiber and Breathe Better

Study:  COPD Prevalence Low Among People Consuming High Fiber Diets

Your lung health may be another reason to eat a diet that's high in fiber.

The benefits of eating a diet high in fiber are pretty well established.  For instance, people with high fiber diets tend to weigh less; they’re rarely to never constipated; they tend to have lower blood cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels; and they tend to be—all together now—regular!

All that’s well known.  What isn’t so well known, though, is how beneficial fiber is for your lungs.

Now, I know what you’re thinking—how could fiber in any way affect someone’s lungs?  Well, truth be told, researchers are loath to suggest that fiber consumption directly affects lung health, but based on a review of 834 people with COPD, fiber consumption is at least partially linked.

Researchers say this because of the 832 people they reviewed with COPD, 234 of them consumed fiber in extremely low amounts.  Meanwhile, the people with the highest consumption of fiber were one-third less likely to develop COPD—even after taking into account contributing factors like weight, age, exercise and whether or not the individuals smoked.

Part of the reason why researchers don’t want to make a causal link to fiber and lung health is because the likelihood of developing COPD waxed and waned based on what specific food groups they ate.  For instance, even though the overwhelming majority of people on high fiber diets did not have COPD—111,473 of them, to be precise—about 107 of the COPD cases had the chronic lung condition despite their high fiber diets.  But when the researchers looked into whether these individuals consumed high amounts of fiber from vegetables or grain sources, only the grain sources were associated with lower COPD prevalence.

We tend to forget about the importance of consuming whole grains.  And that’s easy to do in our “low-carb” society.  But high quality carbohydrates are as important as high quality proteins, if not more so.

Some of the best whole grain sources for fiber include oatmeal (opt for the old-fashioned kind, if you can), 100 percent whole wheat bread, oat bran and rye.  So ignore those people who say that all carbs are bad.  They’re not!  In fact, our body needs carbs, as carbohydrates are what the body prefers to use for energy conversion.

That said, as researchers from the French National Health Institute say, one’s diet is not a panacea for COPD avoidance, nor is it the biggest factor in assessing your risk for COPD.  The most significant factor is—you guessed it—smoking.  Statistics indicate that approximately 90 percent of all COPD cases result from a history of tobacco use.  That’s nine in every 10 smokers!!

COPD—or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder—is an umbrella term for the lung conditions emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  It’s characterized by shortness of breath, chest tightness and wheezing.

Besides barely being able to breathe, other complications resulting from COPD include high blood pressure, lung cancer and recurrent respiratory infections.

Sources:
everydayhealth.com
newsmaxhealth.com

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