Did you know tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States?i Even still, more than 42 million American adults are smokers—and every day nearly 4,000 kids under 18 try their first cigarette.ii If kicking the habit is on your list of better health resolutions in 2015, here’s a quick tip: make sure you eat plenty of fiber.
Researchers from the University of Auckland School of Medicine in New Zealand recently determined that a diet high in fiber may play an important role in supporting lung health. Specifically, dietary fiber helps reduce the inflammation that cause progressive damage and ultimately lead to diseases such as emphysema, COPD and lung cancer, which can shorten the lives of smokers by up to 20 years.
According to lead author Professor Robert Young, results of the study support the theory that the benefits of a high-fiber diet are obtained through the increased absorption of naturally occurring anti-inflammatory chemicals produced by healthy gut bacteria, which are nourished by dietary fiber.
While they agree quitting smoking is the best way to ensure optimal lung function and overall health, the research team recommends increasing dietary fiber intake as smokers take steps toward tobacco-free living. Keep your fiber intake high by eating plenty of non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits, and let’s make 2015 the year you finally kick the habit!