Healthy veggies

Healthy veggies there have been several studies to prove the positive effects of a proper diet in maintaining good health. But now a study shows that eating large amounts of fruits and vegetables also improve the functioning of lungs.

Investigators from the Netherlands, Italy, Finland and the us participated in this study which was conducted in three European countries with people aged 40-59. The data was collected in the 1960s, among 1,248 people from Finland, 1,386 from Italy and 691 from the Netherlands. In the study, populations in all the three European countries, a high intake of fruit and vegetables was positively associated with pulmonary function. The lung function of forced expiratory volume (fev) was highest in men who ate lots of fruits and vegetables (Thorax , Vol 54, No 11).

The investigators also found that high fev scores in Finland were linked to higher levels of vitamin e found in vegetable oils. In Italy, vitamin c in fruits seemed to be responsible for better breathing while beta-carotene in red and yellow fruit and vegetables worked best in improving lung function in Dutch men. The median intake of fruits was 100-150 grammes (g) in the three counties while the average daily vegetable consumption ranged from 42 g in Italy to 165 g in the Netherlands.

"The findings showed that above average intake of both fruits and vegetables was responsible for improved lung function," says Cora Tabaka of the department of chronic diseases and environmental epidemiology at the National Institute of Public Health and Environment, the Netherlands, who led the study.

Another recent study says that a strict vegetarian 'vegan' diet could help improve blood sugar control in patients with type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes. Blood sugar levels declined on the vegan diet, "despite decreased medication use," says Andrew S Nicholson of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, usa, who led the study ( Preventive Medicine , Vol 29, No 2).

The researchers found that diabetics who followed a strict, plant-based, low-fat 'vegan' diet for 12 weeks had, on an average, 28 per cent less fasting blood sugar as compared to those in the other group of diabetics on the more conventional low fat diet regimen. Average weight loss was 7.2 kg in the vegan group and 3.8 kg in the conventional group, says the report.

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