4 Foods That May Save Smokers From Lung Diseases
Cigarette smokers inhale tobacco mixed with aerosol particles and nicotine. This mixture makes its way deep into the lungs. In the lungs, these harmful components are absorbed into the bloodstream. Despite the raised awareness of the lethal side-effects, there has been no decrease in the number of people smoking.
Tobacco kills over 8 million people every year. World No Tobacco Day is observed on May 31 every year to spread awareness of the risk associated with the use of tobacco. The annual campaign is an opportunity to reduce use of tobacco and protect the health of the people as well as the environment. Tobacco smoking is one of the largest causes of preventable illnesses and deaths in India. Smoking contributes to a range of cancer and heart diseases. It can also cause an ulcer, osteoporosis (brittle bones), stroke and emphysema.
Smoking is not a wise choice, but many people begin smoking when they’re too young to understand the consequences, or during times of great emotional stress. The habit of smoking is not just harmful for the smoker itself but passive smoke is known to be equally harmful for a non-smoker as well.
While not smoking at all is the healthiest option, if you’re not ready to quit, you can do your best to minimize the damage to your body by planning your meals around food which prove beneficial for smokers’ lungs. These are also effective for those who have already quit smoking, since quitting alone is not enough to reverse the lung damage that has already happened.
1. Tomatoes and Apples
A decade-long study of 650 British and European adults suggests that diets high in tomatoes and fruits, particularly apples, could speed the healing of smoke-damaged lungs. The study found that people who ate an average of more than two tomatoes or more than three portions of fresh fruit a day, especially apples, had a slower decline in lung function than those who ate less than one tomato or less than one portion of fruit a day.
Another research published online in the journal Thorax, found that people who ate five or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day were, respectively, 40 per cent and 34 per cent, less likely to develop Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Every time an additional serving of fruit or vegetables was consumed it led to a four per cent lower risk of COPD in former smokers and an eight per cent lower risk in current smokers.
2. Green Tea
Green tea has a high concentration of catechins and is about as effective as tomatoes and apples at slowing the decreased lung capacity that comes with age and which is exacerbated by smoking. Catechins are compounds that can help regulate blood pressure, increase weight loss, and protect the brain from disease. The catechins in green tea can break up and loosen deposits of mucus in the lungs. Green tea is also rich in antimicrobial properties which helps in improving lung health.
Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it effective in alleviating the damage done to the lungs by smoking. It is curcumin which is present in turmeric that gives it the strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties which protects lungs from nicotine-induced damage.
Cigarette smoke can cause inflammation and obstruction in the airway. Curcumin protects from the development of such inflammatory diseases of the lung like COPD. Curcumin protects the lung from carcinogens present in cigarette smoke and prevents the development of lung cancer. Curcumin in turmeric protects other organs from smoking-induced toxicity. It also protects from DNA damage caused by nicotine.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties which help remove toxins from the respiratory tract. It contains many vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium, beta-carotene and zinc. Certain extracts of ginger are also known to kill lung cancer cells. You can add ginger to many dishes as a herb or consume it in the form of ginger tea.