Reach out for these foods to keep your lungs strong and healthy – your lungs will thank you for this and keep your body filled with oxygen!
Seeds, nuts and beans
Seeds, nuts and beans are rich in minerals and antioxidants. Most beans contain high doses of magnesium, which helps to increase lung capacity and build on the efficiency of the process of respiration. This mineral is commonly recommended to those with asthma. These foods also contain plenty of antioxidants and selenium that help sustain lung elasticity and to combat the free radicals that damage cells in the lungs.
The grapefruit may taste slightly bitter, but it is sweet on your lungs. Flavonoids in grapefruit are great for purifying lungs that have been polluted by carcinogens. The fruit has also been linked to helping lung problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In a research, scientists found that sufferers of the condition who had consumed grapefruit on a regular basis showed an improved lung function and higher overall fitness scores than those who did not eat the fruit at all.
The Orange tops the list of citrus fruits that are great for your lungs. Oranges contain plenty of vitamin B6, vitamin C and iron. These nutrients help the lungs function more efficiently by assisting the lungs in transferring oxygen into the bloodstream. They are also rich in vitamin C which can help combat against many forms of cancer.
If you smoke or go for drinking sessions frequently, it’s time to load up on spinach. Smoking and frequent alcohol consumption drains folate from the body. A lack of folate may compromise the health of your lungs, most severely putting you at risk of the risk of anaemia. Spinach is loaded with folate – the B vitamin protects your cells from tobacco carcinogens. A study found that former smokers who had sufficient folate in their diet lowered their risk of lung cancer by 40 per cent.
Onions contain sulphur rich compounds which may improve lung related conditions such as chronic coughing and asthma. The compounds help to break down phlegm in the lungs, ensuring that they are clear and able to function more effectively. It also helps in fighting the common cold.
The garlic is revered for its anti inflammatory properties, mainly due to its high level of allicin, released when garlic is crushed or chopped. Allicin may help to reduce inflammation, fight infections, destroy free radicals, improve asthma and prevent colds.
Sage: Sore throats and coughs
The heady aroma of sage comes from essential oils in its textured leaves, containing volatile oils of thujone, camphor, terpene and salvene. Inhaling sage tea vapour can dispel lung disorders such as sinusitis.
A common ingredient in cough lozenges and syrups, eucalyptus contains a compound known as cineole, which helps fight congestions, ease a cough and soothes irritated sinus passages. The next time you have a cough, get some lozenges with eucalyptus for relief.
Most members of the pepper family contain capsaicin, a chemical which gives them their familiar spicy or sharp taste – the spicier the pepper, the more it contains. Capsaicin improves blood flow around the body, fights infections, stimulates mucus membranes, which improves the overall health of the lungs.
Having a congested nose? Add some cayenne pepper to your meal – they have been known to help suppress coughs and sore throats by breaking up and moving congested mucus.
Peppermint: A fantastic decongestant
Helps to soothe and relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract and promote free breathing due to the presence of menthol. Having blocked nose? Have some peppermint tea!
The cranberry is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, but here’s another reason to add them in your diet. Cranberry contains a chemical called nondialyzable material (NDM), which can help fight the flu and other viruses that can affect the lungs.
If you find yourself huffing and puffing up a flight of stairs long before others your age, munch on an apple daily. Apples are choke full of vitamin C, E and flavonoids. This fruit keeps your lungs in rosy health: vitamin C and E are responsible for cell regeneration, fight cellular ageing and protect the lungs from oxidative damage.
Quercetin, a flavonoid found in apples is a natural antihistamine, and can help to stabilise the release of histamines from certain immune cells during an allergic reaction. This results in decreased symptoms such as coughs, runny nose and hives. To get the best out of apples, eat them with the skin on.
Chlorophyll gives vegetables their bright colours and wonderful taste, but they do more than these. Chlorophyll is rich in antioxidants and helps in developing and sustaining blood cells. People who consumed more cruciferous vegetables had almost half the risk of lung cancer compared to those who consumed less. Try adding some cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage or kale to your next meal to reap the benefits!
Want to have healthy lungs? Load up on carrots. They are high in beta-carotene, which shields your lungs from air pollution and smoke, keeping the small air sacs clean and healthier. The antioxidant is converted to vitamin A which can help reduce the incidence of asthma. In addition, carrots are rich in vitamin A and C and lycopene – all of which helps to lower the chances of developing lung disease.