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Fiber is an essential nutrient in a healthy, balanced diet. Fiber helps your body maintain gut health, regulate weight, lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels.

Research shows that increased fiber intake can help protect people against heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer. But can dietary fiber also help treat or prevent progressive lung disease? 

The Links Between Fiber and Lung Disease

New research from the Priority Research Centre for Healthy Lungs and the Center for Inflammation in Australia suggests that dietary fiber may help treat progressive lung disease by reducing lung inflammation and damage.

Additionally, the new study found that dietary fiber can potentially prevent the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This finding supports past research studies that have investigated the link between dietary fiber and lung health. Several studies have reported that high-fiber intake could decrease the risk of developing COPD anywhere between 20-40%. Increased fiber intake could also reduce the number of respiratory-related deaths.

Researchers from the new Australian study say that increasing dietary fiber is an inexpensive, safe and easy way to help reduce inflammation and maintain the quality of life for people with COPD. High-fiber intake could also slow or prevent the development of COPD in people who are at risk for lung disease. 

How Fiber Promotes Lung Health

Researchers believe there are 2 ways fiber may help prevent and treat chronic lung disease:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties. The new study found that dietary fiber may offset lung inflammation and damage caused by cigarette smoke. Multiple studies have found a positive correlation between high-fiber intake, reduced systemic inflammation and improved lung function.
  • Lung-protectant properties. Inside the gut microbiome, fiber creates short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs circulate throughout the entire body and assist in regulation and movement of neutrophils. Neutrophils are white blood cells that protect your body from bacterial infections. 

Dietary Fiber Recommendations for Men and Women

For adults ages 51 and over, the recommended amount of daily fiber intake is 30 grams for men and 21 grams for women. For adults under age 50, the recommended amount is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women. The following foods are all good sources of fiber to add to your diet:

  • Dark leafy greens: turnip greens, collard greens and Swiss chard
  • Fresh vegetables: carrots, beets and artichokes
  • Berries: strawberries, raspberries and blackberries
  • Seeds: chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts and pecans
  • Avocados
  • Dark chocolate 

Chronic Lung Disease Treatment Options

If you have chronic lung disease, adding fiber into your diet may help reduce inflammation throughout your entire body. At Lung Health Institute, we offer the Anti-Inflammatory Initiative™ (AI²™). AI² plans outline dietary modifications, with the goal of reducing systemic inflammation. The dietitian-approved recipes include nutritious, fiber-rich foods like the ones listed above. 

Along with following anti-inflammatory nutrition guidelines, receiving cellular therapy may give you a better chance to improve your quality of life. Cellular therapy uses isolated cells from your own blood to potentially reduce chronic airway inflammation and slow the progression of your disease. If you are interested in learning more about Lung Health Institute’s treatment options or scheduling a free consultation, contact one of our patient coordinators today.

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