It seems like just about everyone I know has had to deal with a cough this winter. Whatever virus is causing these pleasantries I unfortunately contracted, and have been dealing with a cough that lead to bronchitis. With my poor lungs getting fairly beat up over the past 4 weeks, I thought today we’d focus on foods people can consume to hopefully increase lung health.
Of course, if you’re doing something dumb like smoking (hey, I used to smoke, I get it, but it’s still dumb), you’re lungs are fighting an uphill battle. But aside from breathing the cleanest air possible and exercising, micronutrients in foods can give the health of our lungs a boost. Here are a few recommended foods for lung health.
Apples – Full of flavanoids, one in particular that apples contain is called khellin. This substance is known to open up bronchial passages. Apples are also high in antioxidants and fiber, which makes them just a good food to eat in general.
Garlic – A compound in garlic called allicin has antibiotic and antiviral properties, plus acts as an anti-inflammatory. If you’re not one to eat fresh garlic everyday, you can try a garlic supplement, like Zhou Nutrition Garlic Pills with Allicin.
Chili Peppers – The compound in peppers that makes them hot, capsaicin, can improve blood flow, fight infection, and stimulate mucus production. Mucus production is important to lung health, as mucus is how our lungs force irritants and infection out of the lungs.
Dark Leafy Greens – One component that possibly contributes to bronchial airways staying constricted is a magnesium deficiency. Calcium tells our cells to contract, and magnesium tells them to relax. If your calcium and magnesium is out of balance, as is the case for a lot of people, your cells aren’t getting the signal to relax. Dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and avocado are all really good sources of magnesium.
Turmeric – Another powerful anti-inflammatory, to help keep airways less restricted.
Water – Hydration is key for lung health, since mucus production takes a lot of water, and the excretion of mucus from the lungs is how pollutants and bacteria/viruses are expelled.
As a final note, avoid foods that cause allergies. If you have chronic asthma or bronchitis, it might be worth it to have a food allergy test done by your health practitioner (my chiropractor helped me get a simple blood test). There might be a food you continually include in your diet that is actually contributing to the chronic inflammation of your lungs and other organs in your body. This is a good reminder that food truly is medicine. If you had a bad reaction to a medicine prescribed by your doctor, you wouldn’t take it again, right? So why wouldn’t you do the same thing with food?
- Wikipedia – Khellin
- Natural Society – Have Trouble Breathing? Treat Asthma Naturally with Khella
- Health.com – 13 Best and Worst Foods for Your Lungs
- Sunwarrior News – 14 Foods for Healthy Lungs and Improved Breathing
- Bay Care Clinic – An apple a day
- Wikipedia – Allicin
- Ancient Minerals – Breathe Deeply With Magnesium
- PubMed.gov – Role of magnesium in regulation of lung function