On St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish, and everyone eats (and drinks!) Irish, and that’s just fine but . . . anyone who wants to keep their lungs healthy and keep breathing should eat Greek or Italian for the other 364 days of the year, according to a new study out of Harvard.
The study showed that eating a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruit, fish, and whole grains, cuts by half the chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes conditions like bronchitis and emphysema.
The study also showed that those whose diet was typical Western-style chow (lots of red meats, potato chips, white bread, and pasta, etc.) were at least four times as likely to develop COPD.
Smoking is the single biggest cause of COPD, but not everyone who smokes develops it, so researchers have been looking into the role of genetics and diet. This particular study, led by Dr. Raphaelle Varraso of the Harvard School of Public Health, looked at the medical history, lifestyle, diet, exercise habits, and smoking habits of 42,917 men. After making allowances and adjustments for age, smoking, and other risk factors, the men eating Mediterranean diet were less likely by half to develop COPD.
Glutathione is the most efficient free radical (acid) scavenger in the airways, and dozens of studies have confirmed that free radical (acid) damage is a primary player in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Rahman I, MacNee W. Oxidative Stress and Regulation of Glutathione in Lung Inflammation. Eur Respir J. 2000 Sep; 16(3):534-54.
– Breaks up mucus – Rahman I, MacNee W. Oxidative Stress and Regulation of Glutathione in Lung Inflammation. Eur Respir J. 2000 Sep; 16(3):534-54
– Cystic fibrosis – Glutathione neutralized harmful oxidants introduced into the lungs or those released by cells. Exotoxins from bacteria can overload the endobronchial terrain and feed the fires of acidic inflammation. This staggering burden increases the oxidative sensitivity of the CF lung, resulting in further injury of lung parenchyma. Data supports evidence of a decrease in the antioxidant tri-peptide glutathione (Roum JH, Buhl R, McElvaney NG, et al. Systemic Deficiency of Glutathione in Systic Fibrosis. J Appl Physiol 1993; 75:19-24).
– Asthma – Chronic bronchitis
– Emphysema – Lamson, David, MD, Grignall, Matthew, ND. The use of Nebulized Glutathione in the Treatment of Emphysema: A Case Report. Altern Med Review. 5(5);429-431, 2000 Oct.
– Pulmonary fibrosis – Ishii T, Fujishiro M, Nakajima J, Teramoto S, Ouchi Y, Matsuse T. Depletion of Glutathione S-Transferase P1 Induces Apoptosis in Huamn Lung Fibroblasts. Exp Lung Res. 29(7);523-36, 2003 Oct-Nov.
In conclusion, the researchers said, “In men, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish may reduce the risk of COPD, whereas a diet rich in refined grains, cured and red meats, desserts and French fries may increase the risk of COPD.”
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