Health Advice



One more benefit of a plant-based diet: easy breathing

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Young adults, ages 18 to 30, are notorious for their casual attitude about nutrition -- around 60% only get one to two servings daily of fruits and vegetables. In contrast, the average American eats about 83 pounds of beef a year, the equivalent of 333 quarter-pounders! That's enough to take your breath away -- literally.

A study presented at the American Thoracic Society 2022 Conference reveals that, especially for smokers and ever-smokers, folks whose diet as a young adult, ages 18 to 30, was woefully short on fresh produce and long on beef and unhealthy fats are 60% more likely to develop emphysema than people who ate a plant-based diet as young adults.

Tracking the participants in the CARDIA study for 30 years, the researchers discovered that while smoking is a huge factor in respiratory problems, it is not the only one. When combined with poor nutrition in younger years, it delivers a superdestructive blow to your lungs. Add that to the news that in 2017, more than 1 million teens, ages 14 to 17, became new daily tobacco users (75% through vaping) and we have a nation of future emphysema sufferers -- unless we act now.

Parents, help your kids, teens and young adults appreciate the joys of loving food that loves you back! Kids, dig into plant-based food options, on the run and cooked at home. Mom and Dad, don't assume your teen doesn't vape. Show them the facts at -- search for "Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens and Young Adults." Help them enjoy an active life for years to come.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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