In fact, those who consumed more than two tomatoes or more than three portions of fruit a day had a slower decline in lung function, compared to the subjects who ate less than one tomato or one portion of fruit a day.
"This study shows that diet might help repair lung damage in people who have stopped smoking. It also suggests that a diet rich in fruits can slow down the lung's natural aging process even if you have never smoked," coauthor Vanessa Garcia-Larsen said in a statement.
Researchers hope to continue their investigations to confirm their results and believe their findings can be used to help patients at risk for respiratory diseases, including COPD.
"Our study suggests that eating more fruits on a regular basis can help attenuate the decline as people age, and might even help repair damage caused by smoking,” Garcia-Larsen said. “Diet could become one way of combating rising diagnosis of COPD around the world."