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Cured Meats May Worsen COPD

Eating More Than 1 Slice of Ham Per Day May Raise Risk of COPD Flares

What Is It About Cured Meats? continued...

Len Horovitz, MD, is not a surprised by the findings. He is a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “Nitrites are pro-oxidants that damage tissues, and we are now seeing this in the lung,” he says. “We are what we eat and it matters to organs beside our gastrointestinal tract.”

Along with quitting smoking and other lifestyle changes, not overdoing it on cured meat is good advice for people with COPD, Horovitz says.   

Neil Schachter, MD, says more study is needed before any firm conclusions can be drawn about how cured meats affect COPD risk or its progression. He is a professor of pulmonary medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. “We are a long way from proving that cured meats have a role in COPD, and that modifications to the diet will change that risk factor,” he says.

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