Breathe Easy… 5 Steps to Healthy Lungs

3 Nov

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Breathing is essential for life.  It is the first thing we do when we are born into this life and continue until we leave this earth.  Each breath is sacred, an opportunity to inhale life giving oxygen and chi and exhale toxins.   The lungs are our vital organs that make it possible for us to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide.  Most people equate lung health to lifestyle choices and environmental factors.  These are certainly important factors, however like any other organ in our body, the lungs need proper nutrition to be healthy and function fully.

As a part of healthy lung month (it was October, but better late than never, right?) here are specific foods and lifestyle changes you can implement to support lung health.  With knowledge of various toxins and prevention methods we can breath easy and set ourselves up for a healthy future.


  • Maintain a healthy diet

Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes provides your body with essential vitamins and antioxidants that your body needs to detox itself.  Below are some specific foods that are especially important for lung health.

~ Ginger

ginger

Ginger is widely used as an herbal remedy in alternative medicine.  Used to treat ailments such as common colds and upset stomachs, ginger has also been shown to  suppress the proliferation of cancer cells.

~ Broccoli

broccoli

Broccoli, like other cruciferous vegetables, are packed with antioxidants which inhibit enzymes that damage DNA and cause cancer.    Studies have also found that certain plant chemicals in broccoli can restore damage pathways and help clean harmful bacteria from the lungs.

~ Carrots

carrots

Carrots receive their orange coloring from the carotenoids they contain.  These important antioxidants have been shown to cut the risks for developing lung cancer.

~ Garlic

garlic

A study published in the Cancer Prevention Research Journal found that participants who consumed raw garlic two or more times a week had a 44% decreased risk of developing lung cancer.

  • Stay hydrated

Water is essential for all bodily functions.  Drinking an adequate amount of water keeps your lungs hydrated and the blood moving to and from the lungs.

  • Exercise at least 30 min a day

Improving your cardiovascular health helps lessen the work your lungs have to do.  Do something each day to get your heart rate up and blood pumping.  Make it an activity you enjoy so that it becomes a fun part of your day that you look forward to.

  • Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing exercises have many benefits.  Not only will it help you to be present and mindful, but you will be increasing your lung capacity allowing your body to take in more essential oxygen.  Focusing on fully exhaling the breath will allow you to maximize the cleansing effect.

  • Be mindful of environmental toxins

Outdoor air pollution may be the first thing that comes to mind here, but it’s actually indoor air pollutants that can be the most dangerous. Asbestos is a particularly dangerous toxin which causes an aggressive cancer, most often affecting the lining of the lungs, called mesothelioma.  The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance is just one of the many valuable resources out there for information, support and prevention against environmental toxins.  Along with proper nutrition, staying mindful of these lesser known dangers is essential for a healthy home and family.

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