People who get enough fiber in their diets, particularly from whole grains, may have a lower risk of developing chronic lung disease than those who eat few high-fiber foods, a new study finds.
The study, of more than 100,000 U.S. adults followed between 1984 and 2000, found that those with the highest fiber intake at the outset had a lower risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung disorders that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Out of the 111,580 study participants, 832 were diagnosed with COPD during the study period, for a rate of less than one percent. Of those cases, 234 were diagnosed among the one-fifth of study participants with the lowest fiber consumption; while 107 cases were seen among the one-fifth with the highest fiber intake.
When the researchers accounted for a number of other factors — including smoking, age, weight and exercise habits — the group with the highest fiber intake still had a one-third lower risk of COPD than the group that consumed the least fiber.