A study published by the journal thorax, suggested that by eating a traditional Mediterranean diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish you could cut the risk of developing serious lung disease by half.

It also concluded that people who ate a western-style-diet, with a high intake of refined grains, cured and red meats, desserts and chips, were more than four times as likely to develop Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Layman low down

COPD is a term for conditions such as bronchitis and pneumonia. It leads to damaged air-ways which make it harder for people to breathe.

With various studies also forging a link between intensive endurance training and bronchial inflammation (although lower training loads can improve symptoms of COPD) it is wise to be putting the right foods into your body which reduce inflammation and your likelihood off falling foul of what is predicted to be the third biggest cause of death by 2020.

Food changes

In order to support your health and cut the risk of COPD you can make the following dietary modifications:

* Swap white refined foods for wholemeal varieties

* Include oily fish in your diet twice a week

* Cook with olive oil

* Snack on a variety of fruits, and use fruits for desserts

* Sprinkle fruit, pumpkin or sunflower seeds (which are rich in good fats) onto your cereal

* Limit red meat to once per week

* Substitute mayonnaise in your sandwiches with some slices of avocado

* Change the balance of your plate with your protein source taking up one-third, your unrefined grains (e.g. whole grain rice, pasta, and quinoa) also taking up one-third and the rest of the plate providing a good serving of vegetables.

* Swap chips for jacket potatoes or even better sweet potatoes

Interesting facts

Not only can you gain protection from COPD from following a Mediterranean diet but it has also been linked with fewer incidences of asthma and allergies, a reduction in risk of developing Alzheimer?s and has been shown in some studies to lead to a longer life-span.

Getting real

Sticking to a diet with a good contribution of good fats and selecting fruits and vegetables to improve the health profile of your diet is something you may be prepared to do.

When you?ve burnt off loads of calories with an intense or long training session, often however the reward is something sweet or maybe a take-out. If you can stick to ?good for you? foods for 80 per cent of the time there is nothing wrong with having the odd treat after one of these sessions.

The main message is just to try not to do it all the time.