Eating Well for Your Lungs
Keeping your lungs in the best shape is a lot easier than you think! Most of us don’t give our lungs much attention until something goes wrong. But the last few months of the COVID-19 pandemic has taught plenty that we need to stop taking lung and respiratory health for granted and make healthy lungs a priority. Take a moment to think about your lungs. These vital organs let you breathe, they let you live. We often forget about them, yet we all breathe an average of 12 to 20 times per minute, which is about 17,000 to 30,000 times every day.
Our lungs work quite hard to sustain our lives, and we need to treat them well. So what should you eat? Here are some research-backed foods that you can eat that have been scientifically proven to be able to make a difference in your lung health.
You’ve heard this before, but we’ll say it again. For optimal lung health, make sure to drink plenty of water, as your lungs utilize water to keep your airways clear of mucous and inflammatory build-up. Water is an effective way to remove toxins from our body naturally. Drinking water aids in depleting the mucus lining in your airways and lungs. Dehydration can lead mucus to thicken and get gooey, which hinders respiration.
Eat more plant-based foods. Vegetables and leafy greens like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc., are filled with antioxidants, chlorophyll, and other vital phytonutrients.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for lung health, and walnuts are a rich source for these healthy fats. Omega-3 helps to quiet inflammation in the lungs and support respiratory health at the cellular level.
Ginger is a rhizome. It improves your ability to breathe. It is an ancient home remedy for lung health known for its ability to help break down excess mucus in the lungs. Ginger is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties, vitamins, and minerals that your lungs and the rest of your body use as fuel. Its anti-inflammatory effects help improve circulation in the lungs.
Apples are filled with important vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as flavonoids. This wonder fruit contains a variety of phytochemicals, including the powerful antioxidant quercetin. Quercetin may help protect the lungs against smoke and other pollutants.
Capsaicin, the pungent compound in chili peppers, is a powerful medicine for your lungs. It helps with everything from breaking up and moving congested mucus to possibly slowing the spread of lung cancer. Capsaicin also supports your immune system in warding off respiratory infections.
Garlic has been one of the top go-to treatments for any health problem for centuries. It’s anti-inflammatory and helps fight off infection thanks to its high antioxidant content. According to Medical Daily, the consumption of raw garlic can reduce your likelihood of developing lung cancer by 44%. Apart from keeping the lungs healthy, garlic is extremely beneficial for the heart, blood pressure, infections, and bones.
Lungs are 80% water. You need to stay well hydrated to keep your lungs functioning at their best. One of the most common effects of persistent smoke inhalation is the inflammation in the lungs. Green tea has vital antioxidants that help in reducing the inflammation caused by inhaling smoke in the air.
Taste Tip – Add a squeeze of lemon to your green tea as it is a natural expectorant to keep lungs clear.
Seeds are a tiny but mighty tool in achieving optimal lung health. Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds provide your body with a bountiful helping of magnesium, a critical mineral for people with asthma. Grab a handful to snack on, mix them up in your smoothie, or sprinkle them on your salad to reap its nutritious benefits.
Other Tips for Better Lung Function
- Make a conscious effort to breathe fresh air. Go for a walk with the necessary precautions and maintain social distancing protocols.
- Exercise improves circulation and strengthens muscles – two important things that healthy lungs need.
- Limit the consumption of refined grains, fatty and processed meats, and carbonated drinks.
- If you have a habit of smoking, the best thing to do is quit.
- Steer clear of white bread, cakes, or anything that is high in sugar as these cause inflammation.
- Keep your living and workspaces free of dust, fumes, and germs.
- Avoid cupcakes, cakes, chocolate – Avoid fried food and carbonated drinks
- Replace milk chocolate with dark chocolate for those sugar cravings.
In short, a colorful diet rich in fresh, seasonal produce will promote optimal health – and choosing the foods mentioned above will boost respiratory health.
When should you see the doctor?
When it comes to your lungs, having a potential issue looked at sooner is always the best thing you can do! Talk to a doctor in case you experience shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, a lingering cough, wheezing, pain while breathing, or other similar symptoms. If you are looking for the best pulmonologist in Chennai, look no further. Book an appointment with the top lung specialists in Chennai at Prashanth Hospitals. Let your lungs breathe healthily!