A diet rich in fresh fruit, including tomatoes, may help slow age-related decline in lung function, especially in former smokers, according to a study in the European Respiratory Journal in December 2017.
In 2002 more than 650 adults (average age 44) in Germany, Norway, and the U.K. reported their typical dietary intakes from the prior year and were tested for lung function; 10 years later they were tested again. Those who reported eating the most fruit (more than three servings a day)—notably apples and tomatoes—showed the smallest decline in lung function over the decade, with the greatest effect seen in ex-smokers. The study controlled for age, body weight, activity level, smoking status, and other factors.
The researchers suggested that antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in these foods may help preserve lung function and repair lung damage.