Health & Wellness

Eating Tomatoes and Apples May Heal Ex-Smokers’ Lungs

New research suggests that a diet full of fresh tomatoes and fruit can help keep your lungs in shape, and even repair the damage done by smoking.

By Lola Augustine Brown


We often hear about the latest superfood that marketing experts say is the thing to include in our diets, but new research suggests that humble fruit and veg may have super powers, especially when it comes to healing the damage done by years of smoking.

Even in those who never smoked, lung function begins to decline naturally after the age of 30 (roughly). However, a study at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore in Baltimore has found that consuming more than two fresh tomatoes or three portions of raw fruit each day slowed decline in lung function over a 10-year period. Those who ate more tomatoes saw the greatest benefit, with apples providing the next-best results, but all fruit did the trick. The results were published recently in the European Respiratory Journal.

The study involved 680 adults in Norway, Germany, and the UK. Researchers looked at their diets and the results of lung capacity tests, comparing data collected in 2002 and in 2012. The results led the scientists to declare that there was a clear correlation between diets rich in tomatoes and apples and better outcomes for lung health. They checked to see whether processed fruits and tomatoes would produce the same results, but only fresh fruit and veg slowed decline, so applesauce, spaghetti sauce, and Bloody Caesars don’t count.

It’s a wonderful thing when healthful changes are so easy to implement. All you need to do to capitalize on this news is to toss more tomatoes and apples into your shopping cart on your next trip to the grocery store. Your lungs will thank you.

Photos: iStock.