The diet for those who smoke (or have quit)

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Louise Hay

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There is good news for those who have managed to say goodbye to cigarettes (6,6 million counties according to Doxa): A new study, conducted at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, United States, has shown that a diet rich in tomatoes and apples helps repair lungs that have been suffering from years of tobacco addiction.

«Former smokers, who in the course of 10 years from the renunciation of "blondes" they had eaten the largest quantities of both (at least 2) and the others (at least 3 a day), they had seen their breathing capacity decrease more slowly ", explains the doctor Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, who led the American study. “And this benefit, although to a lesser extent, also involves who has never lit a cigarette in his life ".

In particular, apples and tomatoes they counteract the loss of lung efficiency caused both by nicotine and by the “natural” aging of cells and tissues.

Ma those who continue to smoke (6 million men and 5,7 million women) can protect themselves with food from the harm caused by smoking? We asked the doctor Lucilla Look, nutrition biologist at the European Institute of Oncology (Ieo) in Milan, where she coordinates the SmartFood project, a research program on the relationship between food and our health.

Lots of seasonal fruit to prevent cancer

«The recommendations of the World Cancer Research Fund (Wcrf), updated in 2021, confirm that a regular consumption of fruit it lowers the risk of having lung cancer (the disease most closely related to cigarettes), ”explains Dr Titta. «The advice for smokers is to consume 2 servings (about 150 grams each) per day, always favoring seasonal products ».

Until recently it was thought that substances with a protective effect were i carotenoids, precursors of vitamin A, with an antioxidant action, found above all in orange and pink colored products, such as for example melon, watermelon, apricots.

Instead, recently it has been seen that other components are also involved, including the quercetin (apples are rich in), la fisetina (in strawberries and persimmons), le anthocyanins (in cherries, blueberries, black plums), the resveratrol (in grapes). So the recommendation was extended to the entire fruit category.

«All these substances, which in our research program we have defined as“ smart ”, are not only capable of counteract the action of free radicals, responsible for the aging of cells, but also of “Turn on” the longevity gene and to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells », explains the nutritionist biologist.

More vitamin C to replenish what "burns"

"To contain the oxidizing effect of smoke, thebody consumes a lot of vitamin C»Explains our expert.

«Several researches have in fact observed a drop of over 40% the levels of this substance in those who are addicted to cigarettes compared to those who are not. This is why, in addition to always providing fruit in the menu, those who are slaves to tobacco must also regularly consume raw vegetables such as peppers, fresh chillies, broccoli, leeks and flavor the dishes with grated lemon peel and aromatic herbs, which contain high quantities of vitamin C », concludes Dr. Titta.

The typical menu that is good for the lungs

- Breakfast: 2 kiwis, 1 white yogurt, 4-5 nuts, 1 coffee.

- Lunch: endive and apple salad, pasta with lentils sprinkled with grated lemon zest.

- Price: vegetables in pinzimonio; rice with raw tomato sauce, basil and fresh chilli; steamed fish.

No fried, grilled and alcohol

"Those who smoke would do well to avoid, or limit, “tiring” foods for our body. Above all, alcohol and foods very rich in saturated fats, sugar and salt », warns doctor Titta.

"Also frying and barbecue cooking (which can favor the development of toxic substances) are to be reduced to a minimum ».

No to too sweet or salty foods

“For former smokers the same indications apply useful to the rest of the population », says the nutritionist biologist of the Ieo. "The consumption of red and preserved meats it must be reduced, while that of salt and sugar must not exceed precise limits: 5 g per day for the first, no more than 10% of the daily calories for the second ».

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