Breathing comes so naturally that you often don’t even think about it, but the health of your lungs is incredibly important. Your lungs can be damaged from respiratory illness, pollutants such as smoke and dust, and allergens. Most people pay no attention to their breathing until they experience some sort of lung-related problem. However, your lungs need to be taken care of just like all your other organs.
Here are five tips to keep your lungs healthy:
The most critical way to protect your lung health is to avoid smoking cigarettes or using electronic vaporizing devices. Tobacco cigarettes (which contain over 7,000 chemicals) have been proven to cause lung cancer, but any kind of direct smoke inhalation can be harmful to your lungs. While vape pens and electronic vaporized cigarettes may seem healthier than the real thing, any sort of inhaled substances (including nicotine) can be damaging to lung health, because the hot air can stress blood vessels and air spaces that support normal breathing. Some studies have reported serious lung damage in people who vape. Play it safe and avoid smoking and vaping entirely.
You already know that drinking purified water is important for your whole-body health, but drinking adequate amounts of water also promotes healthy lung function. Being properly hydrated allows the mucous lining of your lungs to remain thin, which helps the lungs function better. Staying well-hydrated also helps flush toxins out of the liver and kidneys which helps to keep your skin clear and healthy. Ok, ready for another glass of water?
- The “E” word that enlivens you: Exercise
During moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk or bike ride, your body requires more oxygen. Just like lifting weights makes your muscles stronger, moderate exercise strengthens your lung function. As fitness levels rise, your body can become more efficient at dispensing oxygen through the bloodstream and to the muscles that need it most. In addition, some types of weight training can help to strengthen the back, neck, and chest, which further aids your ability to breathe. Yes, whether moving your legs or muscles, your body thrives on movement.
- Check your nutritional regimen
One of the best ways to keep yourself healthy, inside and out, is to make sure your diet is full of organic fruits and veggies to get important vitamins and nutrients you need. Research has shown natural-source vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and other carotenoids, vitamin A, fatty acids and some minerals play a protective role against several lung diseases. Another phytonutrient, N-Acetylcysteine, or NAC, is an amino acid that is found naturally in foods in its cysteine form. It is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to increase glutathione levels which support the body’s detox pathways. This can help clear the lungs of any extra mucous that may inhibit breathing. To get adequate amounts, taking NAC in supplement form can have spectacular benefits.
You can do deep breathing by using simple breathing exercises to help improve overall lung function, especially when you do them on a regular basis. Start by having a simple 5-minute session where you increase the length of your inhalations and exhalations by counting as you breathe in, filling your lungs all the way up with air, and using the same number of counts to exhale. In addition, intentional breathing when you are engaged in doing light yoga or stretching can help to flex and strengthen your lungs.
Although you might not think about it, your lungs are always hard at work supplying oxygen to your body. Next time you take a deep breath of fresh air, remember to thank your lungs!