Improving the health of your lungs can help you from feeling breathless when going up stairs. One way to improve the health of your lungs is to include lung cleansing foods in your diet. Some of the best foods that can help cleanse your lungs are also great for your general health and will help boost functions of your other organs.
Of course, exercise, stopping smoking, and avoiding air pollution are all important ways to ensure lung health. This can help you avoid and reduce your risk of pulmonary diseases like bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, and lung cancer. However, there are also many foods that act as lung cleansers and strengthen your lungs. Foods like green leafy vegetables, garlic, citrus fruits, berries, and ginger are great foods for detoxing the lungs and keeping them healthy.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Eating foods containing omega-3 fatty acids can help cleanse your lungs and keep your pulmonary system working effectively. Foods rich in omega-3 are oily fish like mackerel and salmon, seeds and nuts, and eggs. It is known that omega-3 foods help reduce inflammation in the body and boost cognitive power.
Many fruits, berries, and citrus fruits contain flavonoids, which are great for lung cleansing. These naturally-occurring compounds have an antioxidant effect on many organs in the body, including your lungs. Some great foods to eat that contain flavonoids are apples, blueberries, oranges, lemons, tomatoes, and cabbage. White grapefruit has a high flavonoid content, though pink grapefruit has some too, along with the antioxidant lycopene. Grapefruit is especially good at cleansing the lungs after quitting smoking.
Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale are rich in vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, carotene, and flavonoids, and can prevent lung cancer and improve chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. They are also rich in chlorophyll, which cleans and builds blood, and they are also full of some very effective antioxidants.
Boosting your intake of foods containing folate, a B vitamin, may also help protect your lungs from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a term that covers a variety of lung conditions, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and some forms of asthma. A study of adults with COPD published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010 found that breathlessness from the condition is associated with a low intake of dietary folate. Researchers concluded that increased folate intake could benefit lung function overall. The two foods highest in dietary folate per serving are black beans and lentils.
Vitamin B-6 is associated with better lung function overall and protection against lung cancer in particular. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010, researchers looked at more than 385,000 blood samples from male smokers and nonsmokers and discovered a lower risk of lung cancer in those with higher B-6 elevations in their blood. To incorporate good B-6 sources into your diet for healthy lungs, look to wild salmon and russet potatoes.
Observational studies have demonstrated that patients with chronic asthma may have lower levels of selenium. According to studies, when people with asthma took selenium supplements, they experienced less asthma-related symptoms than those who took a placebo. Experts think that selenium supplementation may be a useful add-on treatment to medication for patients with chronic asthma.
Natural food sources that are high in selenium include Brazil nuts, eggs, liver, tuna, cod, and sunflower seeds, in addition to poultry and certain types of meat. Whole foods are the best sources of selenium, especially when these foods are handled and prepared in a delicate way, since selenium may be destroyed during processing and very high heat cooking methods.
Another food group that will help detox your lungs and improve their capacity are foods that contain carotenoids. Specific members of the carotenoid family of phytonutrients may help prevent lung cancer, reports the Linus Pauling Institute. Phytonutrients are compounds that occur in plant foods, giving them their bright hues. In particular, beta-cryptoxanthin and a combination of lutein and zeaxanthin show promise in protecting against lung cancer. Pumpkin has the highest concentration of beta-cryptoxanthin, with papayas second. Other sources of carotene include tomatoes, carrots, kale, red pepper, and sweet potatoes.
Water plays a huge role in health and is the base of any cleansing action. Pure, clean water is essential in keeping blood flowing to and from the lungs. It also keeps your lungs hydrated and the mucus flowing. It may sound disgusting, but that mucus is important and needs to be the right consistency for the cilia to move it along and push toxins, microbes, and pollutants out.
One way to keep your lungs healthy and free from excess mucus is to regularly drink green tea. Extracts from green tea contain powerful antioxidants. The beneficial properties of green tea are also used to boost cardiovascular health, protect against various cancers, improve brain function, and protect against infections.
Translation by Mona Soong and Audrey Wang, copyedited by Alan Cheung.