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Healthy Diet Independently Tied to Lower Risk of COPD

Consuming less red meat, soda and alcohol tied to less COPD in study

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) — A healthy diet might reduce the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), new research suggests. The study was published Feb. 3 in The BMJ.

To explore the impact of diet on COPD risk, the investigators focused on the health and eating habits of 73,228 women who participated in the U.S. Nurses’ Health Study between 1984 and 2000. They also looked at the nutrition profiles of 47,026 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study between 1986 and 1998. Most of the participants were white, and all worked as health professionals.

By the end of each study’s time frame, 723 women and 167 men developed COPD. The subsequent analysis indicated that COPD risk was one-third lower among those whose diets were light on red meat, sweetened drinks, and alcohol, and rich in vegetables, complex carbohydrates such as green vegetables and whole grains, and polyunsaturated fats and nuts. The finding that a healthy diet was independently related to lower COPD risk appeared to hold up even after accounting for other factors, including smoking history, age, race, exercise habits, and being overweight.

“The predominant risk factor for COPD in the developed world is cigarette smoking,” study lead author Raphaelle Varraso, Ph.D., a researcher with the unit of aging and chronic diseases at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Villejuif, France, told HealthDay. “But up to one-third of COPD patients have never smoked, suggesting that other factors are involved,” Varraso said. “Although COPD prevention efforts should continue to focus on smoking cessation, our results encourage clinicians to consider the potential role of the combined effect of foods in a healthy diet in promoting lung health.”

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