Best Foods for Lung Health

Zoomi Singh

October 12, 2022

Lung disease is a common disorder that impacts millions globally. Lung diseases may be distressing. It may have an effect on your life’s quality. As a result, it is critical to maintain good health in order to feel your best. Unfortunately, external factors may take a toll on this vital organ. It may include exposure to cigarette smoke and environmental pollution, an unhealthy diet, etc. This article is meant to discuss the benefits of healthy diet and practices for lung health.

High fibre diets have a protective effect on the lungs. The antioxidants in whole grains, namely flavonoids and vitamin E improve your lung health. It also protects against radical cellular injury.

Cell injury is associated with many disorders, including lung disorders. Therefore, a healthy diet may limit and prevent mortality from lung diseases.

An unhealthy diet like refined grains, deep-fried food may cause lung dysfunction. It is because they contain unhealthy fats. These fats lead to bloating, which causes breathing difficulty.

In addition, fried food may cause weight gain and add pressure to your lungs. It may also trigger COPD. However, if you eat a well-balanced diet, a mix of all essential nutrients, you may ensure healthy lungs. 

Best Foods for Healthy Lungs

Best Food for Lung Health- HealthifyMe

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is essential for everyone. It is crucial for those diagnosed with lung disorders. It may be COPD, bronchitis, asthma furthermore.

Research shows that lifestyle modifications with a nutrient-rich diet may protect your lungs. It may limit lung injury and the progression of the disease. Here we shall find the best food for lung health.

1. Garlic

Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties due to its antioxidants. It limits any damage caused by free radicals, triggering cell injury and inflammatory lung disorders. Such disorders include bronchitis, COPD etc. In addition, eating raw garlic consumption may reduce the symptoms also. Therefore, garlic effectively improves lung health.

2. Water 

Lungs comprise 80% water. Therefore, even mild dehydration may impact lung function. For optimal lung health, ensure to drink plenty of water. Your lungs require water like any other organ. It may keep your airways clean and clear off mucus, and prevent inflammation.

Warm water is adequate for detoxifying your body. When combined with lemon or honey, it turns medicinal. Both have vitamin C and Turpin of Vitamin A, which may improve your lung health. The antioxidants in honey and lemon prevent inflammatory disorders in the lungs.

3. Healthy Fats

A low carbohydrate, high-fat diet may help treat breathlessness or breathing difficulty. It is because fats may have the lowest carbon dioxide load during metabolism. Hence, to get healthy fats, take one serving of nuts daily. 

Walnuts are the best plant source of omega-3 fats. In addition, it helps in inflammatory lung diseases like COPD.  

Study shows that recommended intake of omega-3 fats reduces COPD symptoms. It may also improve lung function. Salmon, sardines, anchovies, and tuna are other healthy fat sources. You may eat them at least two to three times per week. Flax Seeds also contain a good amount of healthy fats. You may sprinkle ground flax seeds on salads and enjoy a healthy dish that may benefit your lungs. 

4. Apples and Tomatoes

Apples and tomatoes contain high levels of antioxidants. These antioxidants protect your lungs from pollutants and cigarette smoke. In addition, apples and tomatoes may reduce lung infections. These foods rejuvenate the lungs of smokers. One serving of tomatoes in a meal a day may be ideal. Similarly, you may eat one medium-size apple in the morning to reap its benefits.

5. Vitamin C Foods

Dietary vitamin C may protect against Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorders in patients (COPD) without a smoking history. It also protects against antibacterial and antiviral infections. In addition, it may also have a protective role against lung cancer. Several studies suggest that vitamin C may have anticancer properties. 

You may obtain a daily dose of vitamin C from orange, papaya, lemon, pumpkins, apples etc. 

6. Vitamin D-Rich Foods

Vitamin D may boost the immune system and inhibit any inflammation in the airway. However, its deficiency may cause childhood asthma. Thus, supplements can help reduce asthma attacks. 

Dietary sources of vitamin D include milk, eggs, yoghurt, tuna, etc.

7. Green Tea

It improves your lung health by having high levels of antioxidants like quercetin. Green tea acts as an antihistamine and thus inhibits the release of histamines. It may curtail irritation and inflammation in the lungs. Green tea also has exceptionally high antioxidants, namely flavanol and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). They have anticarcinogenic properties. That means it may protect against lung cancer.

8. Eggs

Eggs are high in protein. A protein diet may help to recover from respiratory infections. They also have anti-inflammatory properties. The vitamin D in the eggs controls the inflammatory response in lung tissues. Lutein and zeaxanthin are potent antioxidants in eggs, improving lung function in COPD patients. It also protects the lungs from cell injury.

9. Honey

Honey has several medicinal and health effects as a natural food supplement. It is a potential therapeutic antioxidant agent for various ailments. Furthermore, the natural sweetness of honey stimulates the synthesis of your saliva. It may lubricate your throat and windpipe to relieve your cough. Finally, it liquefies the mucus that is hard for you to breathe. 

Honey has an antibacterial property. It is an immunity booster and may also help to prevent infections. Additionally, honey exhibits strong antioxidant properties. The antioxidants may also prevent and limit inflammation within the lungs.

10. Protein-Rich Foods

Ample dietary protein is a key to lung health. It can regenerate cells. It may help in healing the lung tissues. Protein may also strengthen the immunity to prevent disorders. Sufficient protein at each meal is beneficial. Eggs, yoghurt, poultry, nuts and legumes, and lean meats are full of protein. They limit lung infections.

11. Leafy Greens 

Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are antioxidant powerhouses containing chlorophyll. It facilitates blood flow to your lungs through antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin. In addition, they may eliminate the free radicals that cause lung damage.

12. Lemon

Lemons have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Vitamin and antioxidants prevent inflammation along with mucus synthesis. They may be considered an effective remedy for asthma. Two to three drops of lemon juice a couple of times a day prevents congestion. It may help to treat bronchial and lung infections. It involves flu-like symptoms, cold and cough. 

13. Broccoli

Broccoli may help prevent lung cancer in smokers as it has L-sulforaphane. It triggers the anti-inflammatory genes, which prevents inflammatory diseases. However, it involves pulmonary fibrosis, asthma and COPD. Broccoli is a healthy lung food, “Other vegetables include cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts.

14. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is rich in capsaicin. It is a pigment that stimulates healthy secretions. It protects mucus membranes from the upper and lower respiratory tract. Sprinkle it into your meals, salads as a lung-healthy food.

15. Ginger

Ginger is a natural decongestant. Antiviral and antibacterial properties in ginger may clear up clogged air passages. It may help to dry up the mucus, thereby reducing chest congestion. It also improves air circulation in the lungs. So, you may include a way of soothing warm ginger tea. You may also top dishes with grated fresh ginger. 

How Does Food Harm Your Lungs Health?

The process of transforming your food into energy in the body is known as metabolism—oxygen and nutrition from raw materials. Energy and carbon dioxide are the end products of this process. Carbon dioxide is an unwanted product that you exhale.

The right balance of nutrients in your diet may help your lung health. Carbohydrates break down with a high load of carbon dioxide. It increases the load on your lungs to eliminate carbon dioxide. And breathe easy.

Metabolism of carbohydrates produces the maximum carbon dioxide to the levels of oxygen inhaled. 

It is necessary to avoid food that may cause gas or bloat. These foods make breathing difficult. Instead, eat small portions of 4-6 meals a day. It eases your diaphragm as it moves freely. As a result, it enables your lungs to inhale and exhale more easily.

Food to Avoid for Lung Health

Lung health is essential. To maintain its health, you need to ward off particular food. Let us find a few unhealthy foods for the lung and how they harm.

1. Processed and Fried Food

They include unhealthy fats. You may find it in processed meats or processed oils as these foods may contain trans fats. It may fluctuate your sodium levels which result in swelling. It may promote inflammation, which may be harmful to your lungs. Trans fats increase the risks of asthma in children. 

2. Dairy Products

If you are lactose intolerant or sensitive, excess intake of heavy creams and cheeses may be harmful. It may increase mucus formation and inflammation in your airways. As a result, it results in impaired lung function. It may also trigger asthma or COPD attacks.

3. Excess Consumption of Alcohol

Heavy alcohol consumption is harmful both for your lungs and liver. Ethanol in alcohol affects your lung cells. It results in a syndrome termed alcoholic lung. Alcohol may cause inflammation of lung cells and may harm cells in the airway. Sulfite content in the drink may worsen asthmatic symptoms. Moreover, alcohol is likely to cause pneumonia and other lung problems. If you have a history of lung disorder, alcohol aggravates it.

Wine may be suitable for your lung health but in recommended dosage. Health experts never suggest anyone drink alcohol. However, if you are habitual, keep it moderate or avoid it.

4. Sugary Soft Drinks

A study reveals that regular intake of sweetened soft drinks may harm your lungs. It may aggravate bronchitis. Kids are more prone to asthma. 

Replace them with fresh fruit juices, lime juices and plenty of water. It helps your overall health.

5. Added Salt

Excess salt intake impacts your lung health. For example, extra dietary salt may result in long-term bronchitis. Moreover, a high-sodium diet may worsen asthma symptoms. 

Avoid restaurants and packed foods. It may be rich in salt apart from preservatives.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies for Lungs Health

Apart from drug therapy, certain lifestyle modifications help to protect your lungs. You can take measures to feel better. It may limit the damage to your lungs:

Control Your Breathing

Breathing techniques, breathing positions, and relaxation techniques may help. It enables smooth and effortless breathing throughout the day.

Clear Your Airways 

Mucus may accumulate in your air passages in COPD or lung disorders. It may be hard to clear. Controlled coughing, plenty of water or a humidifier may help.

Regular Exercise 

Regular exercise may improve your overall immunity. It may also strengthen your respiratory muscles. However, It may be challenging to work out with impaired breathing. Check with your doctor for workouts that suit you. 

Eat Healthily  

A well balanced nutritious, healthy diet may maintain your strength. As we discussed, include healthy lung food in your diet. 

If you are underweight, you may consider nutritional supplements and a weight gain diet. Being underweight may impact your immunity. It triggers and aggravates your health, affects your lung health. In contrast, being overweight may affect your breathing. Exertion exerts pressure on your diaphragm, causes difficulty breathing and results in wheezing or breathlessness.

Avoid Smoking and Air Pollution

We are well aware of the harmful effects of smoking. Its impact on the lungs may be life-threatening. Moreover, it is essential to avoid passive smoking. Second-hand smoke may aggravate lung damage. In addition, passive smoking also affects the lung health of non-smokers. It may cause impaired lung function, precipitate sputum production, and chest discomfort. In children, smoke induces and worsens lower respiratory tract infections. In addition, it causes bronchitis and pneumonia.

Air pollution may also irritate your lungs. 

Monitor Your Health

Schedule a regular health check even when you are healthy. Inform your doctor of any symptoms of infection. It may be uneasiness in breathing or discomfort. It is necessary to monitor your lung function. Ensure you are vaccinated.  

Coping up with lung disorders may be a challenge. However, well-balanced and nutritious lung health may help. It is indeed a smart way to care for your lungs. It may limit your symptoms. Additionally, it may prevent the escalation of the diseases. Most of the food we eat is nutrient-laden. They are loaded with medicinal properties too. The way we eat and how we eat matter essentially.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How can I make my lungs strong?

A. You may keep your lungs strong with food rich in antioxidants. You may avoid smoking and passive smoke. Get vaccinated for flu, pneumonia etc., improve indoor air quality with green plants, and exercise regularly.

Q. Which food is terrible for the lungs?

A. You may avoid refined flour food items like white bread. Processed and deep-fried food may be high in salt and saturated fat. As a result, they may be harmful to your lungs.

Q.What drink is good for the lungs?

A.The combination of honey and warm water drink may be helpful. Honey has antibacterial, antioxidant properties. Therefore, they may help combat the infections. Additionally, it is effective in preventing and limiting inflammation.

Q. How can I clean my lungs in 3 days?

A. Steam inhalation is an effective and immediate cure. It involves inhaling steam to open your congested airways. It also helps to drain mucus from your lungs. You may repeat it at infrequent intervals. 

Q. What vitamins help repair lungs? 

A. Vitamin C, vitamin D, omega-3s, zinc, magnesium, and selenium may promote lung health. Also, vitamin c may help to enhance the resistance of infections. Vitamin D strengthens immunity and combats the pathogens or disease-causing agents. 

Q. How do lungs repair?

A. When you get a lung disorder, it damages the epithelium. It is the external protective layer of cells. Usually, the cells regenerate themselves due to your body’s natural immunity and defence mechanism. 

Q. How can I raise my oxygen level quickly?

A.Breathe fresh air. Step out for a walk. It may help to increase the level. It enhances your overall blood oxygen level. Drink plenty of water. Your lungs need to be hydrated. It helps to oxygenate and remove carbon dioxide from your body. 

Q. What are the symptoms of lung damage?

A. The common symptoms include difficulty in breathing, wheezing, and breathlessness. Additionally, you may feel persistent cough, cough with mucus or blood. Inability to exercise or panting on mild exertion is also noticed.

Q. Is Egg good for the lungs?

A. Eggs are high in protein. It helps to recover from respiratory infections. They also have anti-inflammatory properties. The vitamin D in the eggs controls the inflammatory response in lung tissues.

Q. Is lemon good for the lungs?

A. Lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C. It also contains the antioxidant Turpin and prevents the inflammatory response of lung tissues. That may help improve lung health.

Q. Which fruit is good for lung infection?

A. Citrus fruits like orange and lemon may prevent and limit lung infection. They are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts immunity. It may also fight respiratory infections.

Q. Does hot water clean lungs?

A. Warm water is adequate for detoxifying your body. When combined with lemon or honey, it turns medicinal. Vitamin C and Turpin of vitamin A improve your lung health. 

Q. Is honey good for lung health?

A. Honey has various medicinal and health benefits. First, it is a natural food supplement. It has potent antioxidant properties for lung health.

About the Author

Zoomi, holds Masters degree in Nutritional Sciences from University of Allahabad, qualified CBSE-UGC-NET in Home Science and pursuing PhD in Nutritional Sciences, University of Allahabad, Prayagraj. A Strong research professional focused in Nutritional Sciences where she have more than 8 yrs of work experience in the field of Nutrition and Research, had work experience as a Dietician at Super-specialty hospitals. Skilled in Weight Management, Hypertension, Diabetes and Micronutrient related deficiencies. Additionally, she is well-versed in biostatistics and proficient in statistical tools such as SPSS and STATA. She is endowed with strong writing abilities and has authored her own book, more than six research papers, and six book chapters. Holder of various awards like Excellent Dietician, 2019 and 2020 by Saksham Society, Jaipur, Rajasthan, Academic Excellence at National Conference by Jayoti Vidyapeeth Women’s University, Jaipur (Rajasthan), India and Research Achievement Award-2020 for Research & Innovation by ACAIRS Global Network Pvt. Ltd. Life Member of Nutrition Society of India, NIN, Hyderabad and participated and presented papers in four International and six National conferences. Zoomi believes the right habits play the most crucial role in one’s health and wellness journey. The key to fit body is a fit mind and mental state.

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