Even though the heart gets a lot of attention, healthy lungs are also crucial for overall health — particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Lung infections often develop as a complication of other chronic illnesses. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to air pollution results in 4.2 million deaths worldwide each year. Cigarette smoking is the cause of death for one in every five people in the United States. So, lungs should not be taken for granted. Though the body has a natural defense system to protect the lungs, there are some ways to keep your lungs healthy!
How To Keep Your Lungs Healthy
1. Practice Deep Breathing
Although lung capacity can diminish as you age, certain deep breathing exercises can help you breathe better. Breathing exercises can help healthy people as well as those with breathing problems. You can try these two types of deep breathing techniques to keep your lungs healthy.
- Diaphragmatic breathing helps in building lung capacity and helps people with COPD. Inhale through your nose for two seconds, feeling the air move into the abdomen and breathe out for two seconds.
- Pursed-lip breathing: Breathe in through your nose and then breathe out slowly through pursed lips.
2. Detox Your Lungs
Our lungs are mostly self-cleaning organs but there are certain simple ways which help cleaning lungs, so that they function at an optimum level.
- To break down the mucus, start your day with 1-2 crushed cloves of garlic in one tsp of raw honey.
- Drink 250ml of lemon water, add a pinch of cayenne pepper and drink it in the morning to loosen up the mucus.
- Drink fenugreek seed water and chew the soaked fenugreek seeds to break down the mucus.
- Steam inhalation with peppermint and eucalyptus oil for 5 minutes twice a day is an effective way to keep your lungs healthy.
- Castor oil has properties to destroy mucus, massaging your chest deeply with warm castor oil is good to cure congestion.
3. Get Fit & Stay Active
Exercise forces the muscles to work harder, which increases the body’s breathing rate, which in turn gives a good supply of oxygen to the muscles. It also helps in improving circulation and making the body more efficient in removing the excess carbon dioxide that the body produces when exercising.
4. Stay Hydrated
The best way to keep your airways moist is to stay well hydrated. Staying well-hydrated is very important if you have breathing problems because it helps the lungs to do their job better. It keeps the mucosal lining in the lungs thin and this thinner lining helps the lungs function better.
5. Prevent Infection & Avoid Exposure To Pollutants
Sometimes respiratory infections become very serious. To safeguard your lungs from various infections you should:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based sanitizer
- Maintain good oral hygiene, brush your teeth twice a day and see your dentist every six months
- Avoid crowded places during cold and flu season. Get yourself vaccinated against influenza and pneumonia every year
- Minimize exposure to outdoor air if the quality is not good and avoid exercising outdoors on bad air days
- Don’t exercise near heavy traffic to avoid inhaling polluted air
- Avoid exposure to indoor pollutants which worsen lung disease. Make your home and car smoke-free
- Dust the furniture at least twice a week. Keep your home clean as much you can, use natural cleaning products and make sure you have adequate air ventilation at home.
- Instead of using synthetic air fresheners and candles, you can use an aromatherapy diffuser, essential oils like lavender oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, etc.
- Stop smoking as soon as possible because it causes chronic inflammation in the lungs and destroys lung tissues which can lead to chronic bronchitis and lung cancer.
Apart from the above therapies, you can add some anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich foods to your diet which helps in reducing the inflammation of the lungs. Try adding turmeric, green tea, cherries, blueberries, olives, walnuts, beans and lentils, etc. to keep your lungs healthy!