In this article, we will discuss the best foods for healthy lungs. According to the reports published by the World Health Organisation, respiratory disorders claim about 3 million lives every year around the world. Your lungs are heavily affected by the toxic air and bad lifestyle choices like smoking. If you want to ward off lung cancer, manage an existing lung condition, such as asthma or COPD or repair any damage that you may have done over the years with smoking, you need to make changes in your lifestyle immediately (1).
The easiest change you can make is the food you choose to eat. A healthy diet stimulates the natural cleansing mechanisms of the body and boosts the immune system. In this article, we have listed 15 foods that will help you keep your lungs healthy.
Below are the 15 best foods for healthy lungs.
Garlic contains a very powerful phytonutrient known as allicin which can be credited for its numerous health benefits. It has antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, and blood pressure-lowering properties. Scientists in China found that garlic consumption showed positive effects on patients with lung disorders and lung cancer.
Researchers found that allicin fights and remove bacteria that trigger life-threatening lung infections. It was especially effective in helping treat people with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that mostly affects the lungs.
Ideally, you need to consume 2-3 cloves of garlic per day to help protect your lungs from infection and diseases. You can eat it raw or include them in curries, salads, and salad dressings.
Spinach and other dark leafy greens like chard, rocket spinach, kale, and radish greens are rich in vitamins and minerals. According to scientists, the phytochemicals found in spinach help prevent oxidative damage, lower inflammation, and also fight cancer. Experts also believe that chlorophyll, which gives these leaves their green color, promotes proper blood flow to the lungs.
Include at least a cup of spinach in your daily diet in the form of soups or salads. This will help give you an immunity boost and keep your lungs in great condition.
Just as the famous adage claims, eating apples regularly does keep many illnesses away. Apples are rich sources of antioxidants and phytochemicals such as catechins, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid. These compounds help lower the risk of asthma, inflammation, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Studies have found that apples may help to repair the lungs of ex-smokers. The high levels of antioxidants give apple properties that can offer protection to the lungs from the harmful effects of air pollution and cigarette smoke.
4. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as mackerel, carp, wild-caught salmon, and haddock have highly healthy omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These are known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which have anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, anticancer, and heart-protective properties. These omega-3 compounds were effective at fighting bacterias which often plagues people with inflammatory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Including fatty fish in your diet or taking fish oil supplements can benefit you in keeping your overall health in the utmost condition. Consult your doctor for the exact dose of fish oil supplements before taking them.
Ginger works as a natural decongestant that clears up clogged air passages and improves circulation in the lungs. It is also one of the most trusted home remedies for treating cold and sore throat. Gingerol, a bioactive compound responsible for the pungent taste of ginger, also helps prevent asthma. These compounds effectively detoxify your lungs by removing pollutants from the air passages before they irritate the lungs. This helps the lungs function more effectively and also improves blood circulation.
The best way to take in ginger is by adding the crushed root to your morning detox water or breakfast juice. You can also sprinkle freshly grated ginger on your dishes for enhancing the flavor along with getting the health benefits.
Berries such as strawberries, raspberries, cranberry, blackberry, and blueberry, are loaded with phenolic acids, tannins, flavonoids, ascorbic acid, and other beneficial phytochemicals. These are known to help boost immunity, reduce inflammation, protect the heart, and fight cancers.
Researchers have found a link between the consumption of anthocyanin found in berries and lung health. Their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties protect against lung damage, preserve their functionality, and reduce the risk of developing respiratory diseases later in life.
The sweet and delicious apricots are potent protectors of your lungs. Apricots are rich sources of vitamin A, C and E, lycopene, and beta-carotene. Their antioxidant properties help destroy harmful free oxygen radicals. Apricots have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties. The vitamin A in apricots help support respiratory tract linings and may reduce the risk of lung infections.
You can add them to your breakfast bowls, salads, or smoothies or have them whole as a snack.
Broccoli is a highly healthy vegetable that helps heal various health issues. Scientists believe that broccoli is a good source of sulforaphane (SFN), which has antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. Sulforaphane has been found to be effective in preventing cancers of the lung, stomach, and breast.
Broccoli is considered to be especially effective with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder patients. Try to eat half a cup of blanched or grilled broccoli every alternate day to improve your overall health.
Grapefruit is a low-calorie fruit that is loaded with vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamine, folic acid, and magnesium. Grapefruits also contain naringenin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have found that drinking three glasses of grapefruit juice every day can help break down the cancer-causing enzymes left behind from cigarette smoke.
Eating just half a grapefruit for breakfast can help flush out toxins and lower inflammation in your respiratory system. However, there have been few cases when citrus has aggravated the condition. So talk to your doctor before consuming any citrus fruit to cure lung conditions.
Turmeric has been used in traditional medicines to alleviate various health problems. Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric offers antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. These properties make turmeric ideal for counteracting inflammatory disorders and cancers. Turmeric can help your body neutralize free radicals that may help reduce inflammation in the lungs.
11. Beans, Seeds, And Nuts
Beans, seeds, and nuts are great sources of protein and anti-inflammatory properties. So, by consuming them, you will be able to lower inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol and manage visceral adiposity.
Include half a cup of beans and a handful of nuts and seeds in your daily diet to enhance the health of your lungs.
Avocados are rich in vitamins E, K, B6, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin. These vitamins have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also loaded with amazingly healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids. Avocados may help protect the lungs from the damage caused by air pollution. However, more research is warranted in this regard.
Chicken and turkey are great sources of lean protein which makes them the most widely consumed poultry. Researchers have found that a diet rich in poultry could lower the risk of lung cancer by 10%. Make sure you buy hormone-free poultry for the best health benefits. You can eat them boiled, poached, and grilled poultry for lunch or dinner. It is safe to avoid eating deep-fried chicken.
14. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C, lycopene, and beta-carotene which are antioxidants. They help neutralize the free oxygen radicals which protect your lungs and all other vital organs and keep it free of deadly diseases and disorders. Red bell peppers also consist of carotenoids, which may help reduce the risk of developing lung cancer.
You can sauté, grill, or blanch them red bell peppers and them to your sandwiches, salads, and vegetable quinoa.
15. Chili Peppers
Chili peppers are hot spices that add a personality to your food. Scientists have credited capsaicin for the heat of the chilies and the many benefits they have to offer. It has antioxidant and anticancer properties. Capsaicin stimulates healthy secretions that protect mucous membranes in the lungs.
Eating the right foods ensures great healing power to your body. The amazing lung friendly foods we have listed for you are easily available in the supermarket or the farmer’s market. All you need to do is get all of them and immediately include them in your diet. Along with eating healthy you also need to keep yourselves away from habits that can damage your lungs such as smoking and unruly sleep routines among others.
- Credit: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra
- Title: Human lungs, computer illustration.