What you need to know about keeping healthier lungs

cigarette smoke

You may not notice it, but for quite some time now, you might have actually taken your lungs for granted. The moment you walk down the street together with the surrounding smoke from vehicles passing by, you’ve already incurred damage to your lungs. The moment you smoke even just a single stick of cigarette even once a month, you’ve already shortened your lungs’ lifespan. The moment you got a respiratory infection due to poor hygiene, you’ve already polluted your lungs.

lung diagram

The lungs are vital organs that play an important role to everyone’s body. Note that the lungs never take a rest since its role is to deliver oxygen inside your body for you to keep on breathing even when you’re asleep. Did you know that in a day, a healthy person inhales and exhales up to 25,000 times? It also has a natural defense system to keep off dirt and fight unwanted germs inside. However, due to various circumstances that a person encounters every day, a lot of harmful substances enter the body, causing the lungs to weaken and work improperly.

Types of Lung Diseases

A lung disease is any abnormality experienced by the lungs which causes them to working improperly. There are three main classifications of a lung disease:

a.)    Airway Disease: This type of ailment happens when the airways or tubes inside your body that carry oxygen or other gases in and out of your body are hampered. Common kinds of this disease include asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. A person who experiences this illness feels like he or she is struggling to breathe through a straw.

b.)    Lung Tissue Disease: The inflammation or scarring of the lung tissue is what causes this disease. In return, it hinders the lungs from fully expanding, making it difficult for the lungs to transport oxygen and release carbon dioxide. According to people experiencing lung tissue diseases, they seem to feel as if they are wearing extremely tight vests or jackets, and as a result, they are unable to breathe deeply. Examples of lung tissue diseases are Sarcoidosis and Pulmonary fibrosis.

c.)     Lung Circulation Disease: This type of disease mainly affects the blood vessels inside the lungs. Due to clotting, inflammation, or scarring of the blood vessels, the lungs are unable to take up oxygen, and at the same time unable to release carbon dioxide. It may also affect the heart function of a person. An example of this type is the pulmonary hypertension.

Note that several lung diseases involve a combination of the aforementioned types. Some other common lung diseases include atelectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism, tuberculosis, and lung cancer.

Pointers for Healthy Lungs

There are various ways to ensure that your lungs stay strong and protected from harmful substances around. Some highly beneficial tips fall under the changes in your diet, lifestyle and hardly restrained habits. Below are a few things to remember in order to keep your lungs healthy and your breathing invigorating:

1.)    Say NO to Smoking: With cigarette smoking, you allow thousands of harmful chemicals which are capable of bringing various health problems. As a matter of fact, smoking is the leading cause of COPD and lung cancer. When you are already suffering from any form of lung disease, saying no to smoking can help you in immensely so be determined to quit such an unhealthy vice and turn to a specialist to get professional medical advice.

cigarette smoke

2.)    Keep Away from Secondhand Smoke: Secondhand smoke is highly toxic which is very alarming to one’s health. In order to avoid inhaling these toxins, you should definitely avoid public places where smokers are rampant. Don’t tolerate anyone who smokes inside your house, your car or even in your workplace.

3.)    Avoid Exposure to Pollutants: Other than cigarette smoke, some other noxious pollutants are present in the atmosphere like the smoke coming from factories and automobiles. Also, synthetic fragrances coming from several laundry products and air fresheners used in a lot of areas are responsible for injuring your lungs’ health.

4.)    Enhance Indoor Air Quality: Getting the best air purifier for your home improves the quality of air when you start your day and before you retire for the night. Also, you may want to consider having indoor plants inside your household. According to studies, various houseplants are considered healthy air purifiers. They can filter volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which include benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. Some indoor plants you may want to keep are aloe vera, fern, peace lily, spider plant and bamboo palm.

5.)    Perform Daily Deep Breathing Routines: By doing so, you can strengthen your lungs as it helps you detoxify the body, cleansing your airways and improving the functions of your lungs. To do this, pick a quiet place where you can fully relax, close your eyes and deeply inhale through your nose for about 5 seconds. Hold it for just a few seconds then release it slowly. Repeat this process for about 6 to 8 times every day.

6.)    Get Busy Playing Wind Instruments: Playing a flute, saxophone, mouth organ or any other wind instruments are actually beneficial to your lungs. Using these instruments helps your to get a regular lung workout, and as a result, strengthening them in the process. Singing can also provide a similar result as it makes your diaphragm work and keeps your lungs healthier.

7.)    Have an Exercise Regimen: Doing regular full-body workout exercises makes it easier for your lungs to have its own workout as well, keeping your heart and muscles “fed” with oxygen-rich blood. Cardiovascular exercises are a good way to start since they strengthen the muscles surrounding your lungs. You may also want to try aerobic exercises like walking, dancing, biking, or even swimming.

man running

Right Foods to Consume

You might think that what you eat doesn’t affect your lungs directly. In reality, with the right food and regular exercise, you have healthier lungs, ultimately getting an even healthier body. The best foods to get you started are fresh and raw foods which contain enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The following is a list of the essential foods with their corresponding advantages in your lungs’ health:

fruit and vegetables

1.)    Water: The very essence of water intake is to cleanse the body. It is also essential for good blood circulation to and from the lungs. By drinking clean and pure water, you tend to keep your lungs hydrated and help the mucus inside it flowing. The mucus is significantly needed with the right consistency for the cilia to move it, while bringing harmful microbes and toxins out of your body.

2.)    Ginger: Ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties. It also supports the elimination of pollutants in your lungs.

3.)    Pomegranates: Pomegranates posses a lot of antioxidants such as ellagic acid, which is highly favorable for cancer patients, researches show. Also, pomegranate juice helps in slowing down the growth of lung tumors.

4.)    Apples: Apples are rich in Vitamins E and C, and flavonoids, which all help in improving your lungs’ performance.

5.)    Oranges: Oranges are also known to contain high amounts of Vitamins C and B6, both of which are essential for the lungs’ oxygen transfer.

6.)    Nuts, Beans, and Seeds: These contain rich amounts of magnesium and healthy fatty acids which are good for the cardiovascular system.

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