Smokers will not cut it. In addition to the virtual certainty of triggering lung cancer over time, smokers have a one in four chance of developing a particular bronchitis, COPD: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This damage to the bronchi permanently interferes with breathing. But before definitively quitting smoking, which is the only real good measure to take to protect themselves, smokers should begin to introduce broccoli as often as possible in their diet to help them breathe better and relieve the dramatic effects of COPD.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (formerly known as chronic bronchitis or emphysema) is a serious lung disease characterized by persistent blockage of airflow to the small-bore bronchial tubes. It is observed mainly in chronic bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema. The most common symptoms of COPD are shortness of breath during light exercise, abnormal sputum and chronic cough.
The simple act of climbing a few steps or even carrying a bag becomes more and more difficult as the disease progresses. In the more advanced stages of the disease, sufferers have difficulty breathing even at rest and develop a range of serious health problems, including several cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer.
One in four smokers will develop COPD
Nearly 90% of COPD cases are directly due to smoking and 1 in 4 smokers will develop this disease following prolonged exposure (25 years or more) to tobacco. This effect is largely due to the enormous irritation caused by the harmful particles present in cigarette smoke, which causes intense oxidative stress and inflammation of the lung tissue. The combination of these two factors leads to narrowing of the airways and greater difficulty in breathing effectively.
This negative effect of tobacco is all the more accentuated as the toxic substances present in the smoke also block the defense systems of the lung cells which are involved in neutralizing the harmful effects of free radicals. While lung cells normally react to toxic insults by increasing the production of antioxidant molecules that can prevent the damage caused by oxidative stress, the lungs of smokers lose this capacity and are therefore even more sensitive to these destructive molecules.
The discovery of factors that can improve the lung’s natural defense system could therefore reduce the damage to cells that contribute to the progression of COPD and thus delay the progression of this disease.
Broccoli to breathe again
An interesting study suggests that improving the lung’s ability to defend against free radicals may involve diet. Indeed, the researchers observed that the lungs of smokers with COPD had very low levels of NRF2, a protein that plays a very important role in the production of antioxidant molecules as well as enzymes related to the excretion of toxic molecules. .
Using models of lung cells isolated from patients, they observed that sulforaphane, a molecule found in large quantities in broccoli, managed to counter the drop in NRF2 caused by cigarette smoke and caused a marked increase in production of antioxidant molecules.
According to Dr. Peter Barnes, author of an editorial that describes the main implications associated with this discovery, it is therefore possible that a high dietary intake of sulforaphane, and therefore broccoli, could help reduce the damage caused by free radicals. and thus delay the progression of COPD. Of course, the best preventive measure to counter the onset of these terrible diseases is to quit smoking as soon as possible.