- Consuming a diet rich in anthocyanins, found in dark-pigmented fruits and vegetables like berries, red grapes, and purple potatoes, can help maintain effective lung functionality as individuals age.
- A well-balanced diet abundant in fruits and vegetables can act as a protective measure against lung damage and reduce the risk of developing respiratory diseases.
- Anthocyanin-rich foods are linked to a slower decline in lung function, even factoring in age and smoking habits.
- Anthocyanins are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which have shown potential health benefits and may help protect against cellular damage.
- Dark-pigmented fruits and vegetables can be most beneficial for non-smokers and those who have quit smoking. Although quitting smoking is the best step for lung health, those who quit smoking do still benefit from anthocyanins.
Ingesting a larger quantity of grapes and berries has emerged as an appetizing method to enhance lung health, according to recent studies.
Researchers discovered that individuals who incorporated the most food rich in a unique kind of flavonoids known as anthocyanins into their diet, succeeded in maintaining the most efficient lung functionality as they got older. Anthocyanins exist in dark-pigmented fruits and vegetables which include berries, red grapes and purple potatoes.
Impact of a Fruit- and Vegetable-Inclusive Diet
“Incorporating fruits and vegetables in abundance in our regular diet acts as a shield against lung damage and helps retain their functionality, diminishing the chances of respiratory disease development as we age,” stated Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, who spearheaded the research.
Garcia-Larsen further elucidated that by the time people reach the age of 30, their lung capacity has normally reached its peak. After this milestone, lung functionality begins to gradually deteriorate. The rate at which this happens widely varies between individuals and is influenced by several contributing factors such as smoking habit, physical activity level, exposure to particular pollutants and other existing medical conditions.
Role of Dark-Coloured Fruits and Vegetables in Protecting Lung Health
It has been indicated that preserved food, including cured meats, in prior studies manifest a more pronounced decline in lung functionality. This study, however, found that a slower decline was recorded annually in those who consumed a significant amount of anthocyanin-rich, dark-coloured fruits and vegetables.
“Even after considering critical factors like age and smoking habit, this slower drop was noticeable”, Garcia-Larsen said. It’s important to note that while the study demonstrates a link, it doesn’t necessarily determine a direct cause and effect.
The Health Benefits of Anthocyanins
Registered dietitian at NYU Langone Health System, Samantha Heller, claims the results are logical. “Anthocyanins have demonstrated truly positive health impacts. These fruits are chock-full of antioxidants, and alongside that, consuming the whole fruit as opposed to a portion, imparts to the body a host of other healthful compounds,” she stated.
Furthermore, a diet rich in anthocyanins leaves lesser space for unhealthier foods. Moreover, she notes that it’s never about just one kind of food – a blend of various plant-based foods collaboratively helps in warding off diseases and protecting the body against potential cellular damage.
A total of 463 adult participants hailing from Norway and England, with an average age of 44, were involved in the study. They all initially filled out diet-related questionnaires and took a lung function test. A decade later, their lung function was tested again. The researchers found a correlation between anthocyanin intake and lung health – the larger the consumption, the healthier the lungs.
Garcia-Larsen suggests, “Foods rich in anthocyanin flavonoids may protect the lungs through their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been extensively demonstrated in experimental studies.”
Anthocyanin Effects on Smokers and Non-Smokers
Interestingly, these dark-pigmented fruits and vegetables appeared to be most beneficial for non-smokers and those who have quit smoking. Garcia-Larsen advises that smokers need to stop smoking, as it’s the best action they can take for the benefit of their lungs.
The toxins present in smoke potentially impair the ability of antioxidants or anti-inflammatory effects to counteract smoking damage. However, when smokers quit, according to Garcia-Larsen, they did gain benefit from anthocyanins in fruits and vegetables.
For more guidelines on preserving lung health, kindly visit the American Lung Association.