Eating green leafy vegetables will lead to healthy lungs and help prevent asthma, a study suggests.
People with low levels of vitamin K in their blood are more likely to have poor lung function and to report asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and wheezing, according to new research.
Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli, vegetable oils, and grains.
It plays a role in blood clotting and therefore helps the body heal wounds, but very little is known by researchers about its role in lung health.
Vitamin K is found in leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli, vegetable oils and grains, and scientists say it has been linked to lung health
WHAT IS ASTHMA?
Asthma is a common but incurable condition that affects the small tubes within the lungs.
It can cause them to become inflamed or swollen, which restricts the airways and makes it difficult to breathe.
The condition affects people of all ages, often starting in childhood. Symptoms may improve or even disappear as children get older, but may reappear in adulthood.
Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing, and these may worsen during an asthma attack.
Treatment usually involves medications that are inhaled to calm the lungs.
Triggers for the condition include allergies, dust, air pollution, exercise, and infections such as a cold or flu.
If you think you or your child have asthma, you should see a doctor, as more serious complications such as fatigue or lung infections may develop.
A team from the University of Copenhagen analyzed 4,000 people who took part in lung function tests, took blood samples and answered questionnaires about their health and lifestyle.
They found that people with low vitamin K markers performed worse on lung function tests and were twice as likely to say they had COPD, 44% more likely to say they had asthma, and 81% more likely to say they had COPD. report wheezing.
Dr Torkil Jespersen, one of the study authors, said: “We already know that vitamin K has an important role in the blood and research is beginning to show that it is also important in heart and bone health, but there has been very little research looking at vitamin K and the lungs.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study on vitamin K and lung function in a large general population.
“Our results suggest that vitamin K may play a role in maintaining the health of our lungs.”
The team said their new findings do not alter current advice on vitamin K intake, but they do support further research to see if some people might benefit from taking vitamin K supplements.
The NHS website states that adults need approximately 1 microgram a day of vitamin K for every kilogram of their body weight.
For example, someone who weighs 65 kg would need 65 micrograms a day of vitamin K. Experts say that people should be able to get all the vitamin K they need from a varied and balanced diet.
Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Innovation at Asthma and Lung UK, said: “This exciting research looks at the link between vitamin K and having a lung condition, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”
“We would be interested to see more research in this area so that we can better understand whether vitamin K levels are directly associated with lung function, which could help us better understand the impact of diet in people with lung conditions.”
“Research like this is important, because lung diseases are the third biggest cause of death in the UK, but only 2 per cent of public funding is spent on lung disease research that would help diagnose, treat and control them much more effectively.”
The findings were published in the ERJ Open Research journal.
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain, according to the NHS.
• Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count
• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole grain crackers, 2 thick slices of whole wheat bread, and one large baked potato with skin.
• Have some dairy products or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks), choosing options that are lower in fat and sugar.
• Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other protein (including 2 servings of fish a week, one of which should be fatty)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat them in small amounts
• Drink 6 to 8 cups/glasses of water a day
• Adults should have less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day
Fountain: NHS Eatwell Guide