The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and bronchitis, affects more than 10 million people in the United States. The condition can lead to death or a severe decline in quality of life.
These statistics indicate that, in order to have a healthy retirement living, those who are at-risk for the disease or already have it, may want to find ways to boost their immune system.
New research has found that broccoli may be a key to helping the immune system fight off bacterial infections of the lungs, which are largely attributed to the harm caused by COPD.
"This research may help explain the long-established link between diet and lung disease, and raises the potential for new approaches to treatment of this often-devastating disease," research Robert Wise of Johns Hopkins University said in a statement.
It is thought that broccoli may help boost the potency of macrophages, immune cells which remove bacteria from the lungs.
COPD is often caused by smoking. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. It is the third-leading cause of death in the United States.