Lung health is undeniably essential for our overall well-being. Our lungs tirelessly supply oxygen to our bloodstream, ensuring our organs function optimally. While we often focus on protecting our lungs from harmful environmental factors like smoke and pollutants, it’s equally important to consider the role of our diet. Maintaining a well-balanced diet provides our lungs with the vital nutrients they need for top-notch performance.
In this pursuit of better lung health, it’s worth keeping in mind that certain foods should be avoided as much as possible. Common offenders on this list are processed foods like potato chips, cold cuts, and white bread. Conversely, incorporating lung-friendly foods into your diet can make a significant difference and this is exactly what we are going to discuss in this article.
Nutritious Diet Choices for Lung Health
Experts recommend a diet abundant in fruits, vegetables, and seeds, as it not only reduces the risk of various cancers, including lung cancer, but also provides essential nutrients for overall well-being. Hence, this list will be chock-full of a variety of these healthy foods.
Also, if you’re interested in exploring further resources and information on lung health and cancer, you can check out www.lungcancergroup.com, where you’ll find access to valuable resources that can aid in your journey towards better lung health.
Although not usually found on everybody’s favorite food list, beets have certain nitrates that can help control blood pressure, relax our blood vessels, and optimize the intake of oxygen by the lungs. Green beetroot leaves contain Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and carotenoid antioxidants. These nutrients enhance our immune system and also lead to healthier lungs.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a kind of carotenoid antioxidant that has various benefits. It can help in enhancing lung function by soothing airway inflammation.
Since this nutrient-rich food is not usually a stand-alone snack, think of ways to incorporate it into your diet. Mix some tomato chunks into your daily salad, or freeze homemade tomato puree for your regular meals. A little olive oil drizzled on tomatoes can help to activate the lycopene, so make sure to have some on hand!
Most people know that the Vitamin E content in flax seeds works well for your skin and hair. However, what many people do not know is that this nutrient may also reduce our risk of contracting lung cancer.
Other lung-friendly seeds include chia and pumpkin seeds, which are rich in magnesium, a crucial nutrient for individuals with asthma.
Apples are usually easy to add to any routine. They’re widely available throughout the year. You can slice them up, chomp on one while commuting to work, or use them in various recipes.
This fruit is also great for our lungs; it’s rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, flavonoids, antioxidants, and beta-carotene, among other nutrients. All of these play an important role in staving off lung function decline.
Grapefruits contain Naringin, which is extremely beneficial for lung health. It helps in suppressing the function of a certain cancer-inducing enzyme.
You’d be better off consuming white grapefruits for lung health, as they are more nutritional. Pink grapefruit might be more easily available, though, so go with that if you can’t find the white kind. The pink variety contains a lower level of flavonoids, but it also gives us the benefit of lycopene. In any case, grapefruits are a refreshing, healthy snack any time of the day!
The curcumin in turmeric can help soothe airway inflammation. It also helps eliminate chest congestion. Such benefits can help us breathe easier and reduce the burden on our lungs.
To get the maximum benefit from turmeric, consume it with black pepper. Black pepper helps the body absorb the curcumin from turmeric properly. You can consume turmeric by putting it in a variety of dishes, making ‘golden milk,’ or turmeric tea with a pinch of black pepper. Look up some recipes to start benefiting from this ingredient as soon as possible.
Lentils are a good source of protein and also contain several lung-friendly nutrients. Consuming lentils in salads, soups, and curries can get us a healthy intake of iron, potassium, magnesium, and copper.
This particular food is also an essential element of the Mediterranean diet. A dietary pattern with legumes like lentils can protect against Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a group of diseases that cause airflow limitation and breathing difficulties, and lung cancer. The Mediterranean diet is, in fact, a great way to include many lung-friendly foods in your routine, so do consider it.
Along with adding a rich chocolatey element to your desserts and drinks, cocoa can also help your lungs function in a better way. When you consume natural cocoa or cacao products, your body gets a healthy dose of flavonoid antioxidants.
Cocoa also contains theobromine, which can lower the risk of respiratory allergic symptoms. It may also stave off lung cancer. Research shows foods with flavonoids, including chocolate-based items, can lead to enhanced lung function.
Your favorite cup of joe might jumpstart your day, but it may also protect your lungs. There are quite a few antioxidants in coffee, some of which are good for lung health.
Research shows regular coffee intake can improve lung function. It also protects the body from several respiratory diseases. The caffeine in coffee is a vasodilator, which means it causes blood vessels to expand, enabling increased blood flow, especially to the muscles and the lungs. Moreover, caffeine can help reduce asthma symptoms in the short term.
The berry family provides a great variety for your dietary needs. You can use berries for snacking, cooking, or preserving. Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are all decent sources of anthocyanins, which are a type of antioxidants that can reduce the build-up of mucus and unhealthy inflammation in our lungs. Moreover, the consumption of berries has been connected to slowing down age-associated lung function. Simply put, berries can keep your lungs young even when you’re getting on in years!
Exercises for lung health
A healthy diet is great, but regular exercise will further help to strengthen your lung muscles. Along with adding the right foods to your diet, try inserting some simple exercises into your daily routine. These may include running, jogging, walking, or anything else that gives your lungs a workout.
Proper breathing might even enhance sports performance and mitigate stress, so it’s worth looking into some breathing exercises. These can help you relax while working towards better lung health.
With your lungs healthy, your body is more likely to function optimally. Along with avoiding certain things, we must focus on getting the right nutrients for these essential organs. Adding the foods above to our diet can help us steer away from an inflammatory intake. Take a look at your weekly consumption and see what you can add to stave off lung issues. It may take some adjustment, but you’ll feel and breathe better in the long run.