No one knows the joy of inhaling a deep breath like those who can’t. More than 235 million people around the world are living with asthma today. Our overall health depends on a healthy pair of lungs, but the vital role they play in keeping our bodies functioning well is genuinely understated.
In our modern world, pollutants are everywhere, and we must be proactive in protecting the health of our lungs. Smoking, for example, can reduce concentration levels of carotenoid antioxidants in smokers by 25%, causing serious harm. According to the CDC, smoking can cause cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and lung disease, including emphysema and bronchitis.
But nature gave us wondrous healing solutions to our overall health, including the health of our lungs. Our bodies need proper nutrition to function optimally, and there is an array of foods that can help us protect, heal, and take charge of our wellbeing.
Try incorporating some of these dense, nutritious foods into your diet and take steps to protect the health of your lungs.
- Bell Peppers: Not only are they great for cooking, but they are packed with carotenoids, polyphenols, and beneficial nutrients essential for healthy lungs. Try roasting bell peppers with avocado oil, or enjoy them as a fresh snack any time.
- Apples: Traditional healing wisdom has always included apples as a part of a healthy diet. Their richness in nutrients and exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and antioxidants, made them a stable kitchen remedy. The saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” holds a strong truth.
- Tomatoes (cherry and plum only): They’re in almost every kitchen in the world. Tomatoes are linked to many health benefits, packing antioxidants like lycopene, which researchers linked to health benefits like decreased rates of heart disease and cancer. They are also an excellent source of minerals such as calcium, potassium, folate, and phosphorus.
- Blueberries: These vibrant berries are rich in a multitude of nutrients. They are an excellent source of antioxidants, helping provide the lungs with needed nourishment, managing cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, improving insulin sensitivity, and improving mental function. For gut health, they contain probiotics. Enjoy them any time as a snack or incorporate them into your breakfast routine as a delicious smoothie.
- Olive oil (not for cooking): This is an antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory, and heart-friendly oil. It has been known historically for its varied uses inside and outside the kitchen. Olive oil provides high levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, research links the oleic acid contained in olive oil to reduced inflammation. Drizzle it over some salad or dip fresh bread in it. Note that Dr. Sebi did not recommend cooking with olive oil.
- Walnuts: This brain-shaped nut is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and helps you fight asthma and other respiratory ailments. Enjoy it as a snack, in salads, or make a delicious walnut milk to go with your smoothies.
- Mushrooms: Now more popular than ever, mushrooms pack a high nutritional profile. They are an excellent source of fiber, phosphorus, and antioxidants. Mushrooms may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Enjoyed throughout many cuisines, they are one of the most versatile vegetables. Check out our recipes and enjoy!
- Oranges (Seville or sour only): This common citrus is rich in calcium, potassium, and other nutrients. It acts as a natural protector of the immune system, guarding the cells against inflammation, damage, and helping you heal faster. If you suffer from anemia, oranges make it easier for your body to absorb iron. It also aids collagen production for healthier, smoother skin.
- Kale and Dandelion greens: Kale is an amazing superfood. Studies show it may protect against heart disease and cancer, and it also supports eye and bone health. Dandelion is an excellent source of antioxidants, calcium, and potassium. Try dandelion greens in a salad with a citrusy key lime vinaigrette to balance the bitter taste of the greens.
- Brazil Nuts: Brazil nuts are among the richest sources of selenium that you can eat. A single Brazil nut may contain over 150% of the recommended intake for this essential nutrient.
- Cayenne Pepper: The spice that brings zest into your dishes could also help your lungs. Aside from the added spice, it provides nutrients like potassium and magnesium. As a result, it helps promote the proper function of the lungs, heart, immune system, and other organs.
Simple Tips for Healthier Lungs
Most of us shallow breathe every day, and a lack of proper breathing can cause respiratory illnesses, and even heart disease. Diaphragmatic breathing or “belly breathing” and “deep breathing” involves actively pulling the diaphragm down with each inhale and, therefore, filling your lungs more efficiently with air.
These techniques can benefit healthy people and those living with asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.
Being mindful of your posture
Because of the soft structure of the lungs, they will fit the space you fit them in. Slouching will compress the size of your lungs, and techniques like leaning back in your chair or doing heart-opening yoga movements will help expand your lungs. Another method is simply reaching overhead to allow more space for your lungs.
Drinking enough water can’t be underestimated for its health benefits, specifically to your lungs. Dr. Sebi recommends drinking a gallon of spring water daily to achieve optimal health.
Research found a direct link between poor sleep and respiratory diseases. Not getting around 7–8 hours of sleep each night may cause lung problems. Inadequate sleep can weaken the immune system and increase susceptibility to respiratory problems.
Exercise and lung health
Physical activities supply more oxygen to the blood. Exercise doesn’t just strengthen muscles; it also supports the lungs. The more active you become, the more oxygenated your body will become, strengthening the lungs and heart. Specialists have developed exercise techniques specifically to target the neck and chest, including the diaphragm and the muscles that work on the inhalation and exhalation process.