Nutrition and Healing
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  • Raid the fruit bowl to breathe easier

    We’re just over a week into February — and by now, most folks have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions.

    And one of the hardest New Year’s resolutions of all is also one of the most important things you can do for your health.

    No, it’s not buying a treadmill… or even giving up the bread basket at dinner.

    I’m talking about quitting smoking.

    You see, puffing on cigarettes can make your lung capacity shrink over time, leaving you gasping for air. And, of course, snuffing out your smoking habit is the best way to halt the damage to your airways.

    But according to a new study, you may also be able to REPAIR the damage done by smoking… simply by trading in your ashtray for a fruit bowl!

    British researchers questioned 650 adults about their diets and tested their lung function — and when they repeated the tests 10 years later, it turned out that those who ate the MOST fruit had better lung capacity than those who ate the LEAST.

    And that was after the researchers controlled for other factors that affect lung function like age, weight, and activity level.

    What’s more, while ALL of the participants in the study reaped lung benefits from eating fruit, the benefits were even more pronounced among former smokers, suggesting that fruit may help undo the harm of cigarettes.

    Now, the real stars of the fruit basket were apples and tomatoes (which are technically fruits, even though they’re often prepared like vegetables) — because they slowed lung function decline more than anything else in the produce aisle.

    The theory is that lycopene — a powerful antioxidant found in red fruits like apples and tomatoes — can reduce airway inflammation and allow you to breathe much easier.

    But you don’t need to limit yourself to the red stuff — because all fruits contain plant compounds called flavonoids, which are known to improve the ability of your lungs to do their job.

    So, whether you’re on your last cigarette… or never smoked your first… you can protect and rejuvenate your lungs with a rainbow of fruit.

    Add some bright berries to your morning yogurt… toss cherry tomatoes into your lunchtime salad… grab an apple and a handful of nuts as a snack… and try a colorful fruit salad as an evening dessert.

    Just don’t expect to get the same benefits from fruits that come in a can or jar — because the study showed that processed foods that contain fruit (like canned tomato sauce) didn’t improve lung function.

    Only the fresh stuff worked!

    Later today, I’ll have even more on fruit for you — including a surprising way to use blueberries to boost your brain.

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