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Tuesday, 22 May, 2001, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Apples and tomatoes 'good for lungs'
Apples reduce the risk of respiratory complaints
Scientists have found that if you want to have healthy lungs you should eat apples and tomatoes.

It has been established that eating fresh fruit and vegetables can help to reduce the risk of asthma and chronic lung diseases.

'A tomato and an apple a day' might help people breathe easier

Dr John Harvey, British Thoracic Society
But a new study by Nottingham University suggests that apples and tomatoes may have the biggest beneficial impact.

Researchers quizzed 2,633 adults who had problems with wheezing, asthma or other lung complaints about their diet, and asked them to complete a test designed to measure their lung capacity.

Five a day

They found people who had the greatest lung capacity were those who ate more than five apples a week, or who ate tomatoes at least every other day.

Wheezing was also less common in people who ate a lot of apples.

Apples contain high levels of an antioxidant flavonoid called quercetin which is also found abundantly in onions, tea and red wine, and may be important in protecting the lungs from the harmful effects of atmospheric pollutants and cigarette smoke.

Dr John Harvey, of the British Thoracic Society (BTS), said: "This is an interesting study which shows that 'a tomato and an apple a day' might help people breathe easier.

"We have known for some time that a healthy diet - rich in antioxidants - can have a positive effect on lung function; this is a ripe area for research."

National Asthma Campaign chief medical adviser Dr Martyn Partridge said: "Alteration in the oxidant/anti oxidant ration in the diet can alter susceptibility to asthma and other lung diseases.

"This latest study confirms that regular intake of fresh fruit reduces the risk of developing respiratory disease and represents a simple effective intervention that everyone can adopt to help keep themselves fit."

The research was presented to the American Thoracic Society's annual conference.

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