Our lungs are an essential respiratory organ and therefore they play a vital part in our body. They are located near the backbone on both sides of our body. Their primary function is to carry oxygen from the atmosphere into the bloodstream and release carbon dioxide from the blood into the atmosphere. Since our cells need oxygen to grow and work, the lungs play a vital role in our lives.
In just 1 single day, an average healthy person breathes around 25 000 times, meaning that the lungs never stop working.
Our lungs are protected by the body’s natural defense system that works properly most of the time, making sure to keep dirt and germs out. However there are cases where harmful substances can damage our airways and propose a threat to our lungs and their ability to work properly. This is known as lung disease.
Common lung diseases are asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, chronic pulmonary disease, tuberculosis, lung cancer and acute respiratory distress syndrome. People who experience lung diseases often have problems breathing and some of these diseases can even lead to respiratory failure.
However there is no need for panic since there are literally dozens of ways that you can keep your lungs healthy and functioning properly by making simple changes in your lifestyle, diet, and habits. Your lungs will be thanking you if you make these simple changes.
Here are a few small changes you can implement in your life that will keep your lungs healthy and working properly.
If you’re a smoker and you want to improve your lungs condition – it is time to stop. The smoke of cigarettes contains thousands of toxic chemicals that cause various health problems. To be more specific, smoking is the #1 cause for some of the most serious lung diseases like COPD and lung cancer.
The cigarette smoke narrows the air passages and makes breathing difficult. It also causes chronic inflammation and lung swelling and with time, it destroys lung tissues and increases your chances of lung cancer.
Giving up smoking will greatly help you if you’re suffering from any kind of lung disease. Be determined to give up smoking, and if necessary, seek professional help.
Avoid Secondhand Smoke
It is extremely dangerous for non-smokers to be exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is extremely toxic and often causes havoc in the lungs and the overall health. If you’re a non-smoker, here are some things you can do to avoid secondhand smoke.
- Don’t allow smoking in your workplace, car or home
- Support smoke free activities and businesses
- Avoid public places that permit smoking
- Stay in smoke-free hotels
Limit Pollutants Exposure
Cigarette smoke isn’t the only pollutant that you need to stay away from. You also need to stay alert and avoid other air pollutants that are harmful to your lungs and overall health. Avoid even synthetic fragrances often found in laundry products and air fresheners since they emit toxic chemicals.
The best way to avoid air pollutants is to stay away from industrialized and highly polluted areas. You too can help minimize the outdoor, by riding a bike instead of driving a car. Use eco-friendly options when remodeling or building your house, avoid VOC paints, use formaldehyde-free cabinetry and other related things.
Improve the Indoor Air
A NASA study from the 1980’s found that few houseplants have the ability to act as natural air purifiers since they filter out volatile organic compounds such as benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.
It is recommended that you use minimum 2 houseplants in 10-12 inch pots.
The indoor plants we recommend are spider plant, fern, bamboo palm, peace lily, Aloe Vera, English Ivy and others. Do not overwater these plants.
Avoid using harsh cleaners with strong fragrances as well as aerosol sprays.
Do Deep Breathing Exercises Daily
The breathing process is necessary to feed the cells in the body oxygen. Without the sufficient amount of oxygen, people become prone to lung problems and even heart disease.
Regular breathing exercises help strengthen your lungs and cleanse them of chemicals and toxins that have built-up in them. Not only this, but it clears the airways as well while improving lung performance.
- Sit down in a quiet and relaxing place that you feel comfortable in.
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply through your nose.
- Inhale slowly and count to 5.
- Hold your breath for 5 seconds and then slowly exhale.
- Repeat this procedure 8 times.
This deep breathing exercise when performed on daily basis will cleanse your lungs and eliminate stress.
Play a Wind Instrument
Playing a wind instrument like an oboe, tuba, flute or a saxophone, will improve your lung health. Playing any of these instruments will use your full lung capacity and thus acts as a lung workout that will improve your air capacity.
So if you want to increase your air capacity, learn how to play a wind instrument. Singing also works the diaphragm and keeps the lungs healthy.
Learn how to play a wind instrument to increase your lung capacity. Also, singing works the diaphragm and keeps your lungs healthy.
If singing and music aren’t your thing then blowing a balloon using deep breathes will also have the same effect. Blow a few balloons every day in order to increase your air capacity and strengthen your lungs.
Consuming the right mix of vitamins, nutrients and minerals will cleanse your body of harmful chemical toxins and maintain your lungs healthy.
Focus on foods rich in antioxidants and detoxifying content like onions, garlic, cayenne pepper, oregano, ginger, turmeric, apples, pomegranates, green tea, grapefruit, lungwort, peppermint, lobelia as well as chaparral.
In order your diet to preserve the strong respiratory muscles you need to include great sources of protein, such as cheese, nuts, milk, fish, and etc.
If you want to protect your lungs from chronic pulmonary diseases, then you should eat foliate-rich food, such as black beans and lentils.
Additionally, you need to include complex carbohydrates like pasta, veggies, fresh fruits, and whole grain bread.
Always choose polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats which don’t possess cholesterol.
Stay Active and Do Regular Exercise
Doing exercise will increase a lot your lung capacity. If you exercise regularly, your lungs will keep your muscles and heart supplied with a good amount of oxygen, which, in turn, will provide better mood and a healthier heart.
It is recommended to do rigorous cardio exercises 5 days a week in the duration of 20 minutes since they will strengthen the muscles surrounding the lungs.
You can also try an aerobic exercise like biking, walking, and dancing. Or, you can swim for example several times a week for 30 minutes.
If you are a beginner in exercising, then, first of all, you need to consult with a trainer in order to find out which exercise suits the best for your current situation.
Maintain Proper Hygiene
People susceptible to lungs infection have to maintain proper hygiene, in order to prevent respiratory disease like flu and cold. In order to practice good hygiene, you should:
– wash your hands with water and soap,
– use a hand sanitizer that contains alcohol in case you don’t have access to water and soap,
– If you sneeze or a cough, cover your mouth or nose with a handkerchief or tissue
– During cold and flu season, avoid crowded places
– vacuum the carpets and rugs at home more frequently
– stay at home if you get sick
Get Regular Health Checkups
Always try to remember that when it comes to the health, prevention is better than the cure. Therefore, do regular health check-ups because many lung diseases are undetected until they become serious.
In case you start experiencing lung problems such as breathing pain, shortness of breath, persistent cough, or dizziness when changing an activity, immediately consult a doctor.
Take the medicines prescribed by your doctor regularly and don’t stop taking them on your own, since it might lead to severe consequences.