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Lung woes? Eat the Mediterranean way

health-and-fitness Updated: May 15, 2007 16:32 IST

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Anti-oxidant rich Mediterranean diet could cut the risk of serious lung diseases by up to 50 per cent, French researchers have said.

The researchers from the French institute Inserm tracked some 43,000 men for 12 years and found that people in the Mediterranean region eat lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish.

The 12-year study showed that the higher the compliance with a Mediterranean diet, the lower the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD is a lung disease in which the lungs are damaged, making it hard to breathe. In COPD, the air ways - the tubes that carry air in and out of lungs - are partly obstructed.

It is the fourth leading cause of death in America, claiming the lives of 122,283 Americans in 2003. COPD is expected to become the world's third leading cause of death by 2020.

The study appeared in the journal 'Thorax' suggests that the anti-oxidants in Mediterranean diet reduce the risk of tissue inflammation, reported online edition of the BBC News.

The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional model inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of some of the countries of the Mediterranean basin, particularly Greece and southern Italy.

Common to the diets of these regions are a high consumption of fruits and vegetables, bread, wheat and other cereals, olive oil and fish, making them low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat and dietary fibre.

Red wine is also consumed regularly but in moderate quantities.