Slow aging in your lungs with this one delicious fruit

An apple a day may not keep the doctor away... but two tomatoes are another story.

Enjoy a pair a day, and you just might avoid the pulmonologist!

New research shows how working a pair of tomatoes into your meals each day can protect your lungs from two kinds of damage you might be experiencing right now, even if you're not aware of it.

The first is something we all suffer: After 30, lung function drops a little bit every year.

The more it drops, the higher your risk of breathing problems and chronic disease such as COPD.

The second is the damage from bad habits such as smoking -- and that's damage you could have right now, even if you don't smoke.

If you have lived or worked with smokers... or had a tobacco habit of your own years ago... your lungs might still have that damage inside them right now.

Combine the two -- aging and tobacco exposure -- and you can suffer an even bigger drop in lung function and higher risk of COPD.

But not if you eat tomatoes!

The new study finds that eating more fruits and vegetables of any kind can slow the damage in the lungs caused by aging and tobacco... but the best of the bunch are tomatoes.

Just two a day will slow the rate of decline, essentially making your lungs YOUNGER so that you stay healthier and breathe easier. That, in turn, can slash your risk of becoming one of the 155,000 Americans who die of respiratory diseases every year.

Others forms of fresh produce will also do the trick.

That apple a day? It's not quite enough to help lung function -- not by itself, anyway.

But you're on the right track. Three apples a day... or three daily servings of any fresh fruit at all... can also help protect lung function.

The biggest protection goes to former smokers, according to the study. If you're recovering from an old bad habit, you might want to up your intake of delicious fresh fruits and vegetables to help reverse the damage and avoid the lung problems so many former smokers face.

But even if you've never smoked, you could still be quietly suffering from the decline in function caused by aging, which can leave you struggling to catch your breath at times.

Avoiding that risk could be as simple as eating more fruits, especially tomatoes.

These delicious foods are rich in the age-fighting nutrients that can also protect the rest of your body, including your heart -- so, take a deep breath, and enjoy.