Keeping the lungs healthy and clean is essential for all cells in our body to receive oxygen-rich blood.
This can be achieved through healthy habits, especially the consumption of foods that are beneficial for lung function. Find out here which are the best options.
Our respiratory system, made up of the nasal passages, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi and lungs, controls the complex process of respiration and distribution of oxygen to all cells and tissues of the body.
In the lungs, oxygen from each breath is transferred into the bloodstream and sent to all cells in the body as fuel to sustain life.
Breathing polluted air, cigarette smoke, or other toxins are among the main risk factors for lung damage. Because our lungs are capable of cleaning themselves, avoiding or limiting exposure to these substances is key to keeping them healthy.
Experts explain that after being exposed to pollution, you can feel swollen chest. This is because mucus accumulates in the lungs, trapping different pathogens that contribute to the feeling of heaviness.
- Home remedies to breathe better
Fortunately, there are breathing exercises or habits that can help clear the lungs of excess mucus and improve breathing:
- Sewer system: A position should be adopted that facilitates the elimination of mucus from the lungs. This can be sitting, lying on your back, on your stomach, or on your side. Once in position, breathe in and out slowly for a few minutes.
- Exercise: It is helpful because it forces the lungs to provide a greater supply of oxygen to the muscles, while improving circulation. This is ideal for achieving and maintaining good respiratory function.
- Inhale steam: this is perhaps one of the best known traditional remedies. It consists of inhaling water vapor to clear the airways and drain mucus. Although only with water results are obtained, in some cases you can add herbs with expectorant properties, such as eucalyptus or thyme.
- No Smoking: This warning also extends to those who are second-hand smokers, since exposure to cigarette smoke (first or second hand) can contribute, among other things, to damage to lung cells.
- Percussion or chest blows: It is a technique performed by a professional, which consists of using the cupped hand to hit the chest wall and thus achieve the release of mucus trapped in the lungs.
What foods clean the lungs?
In addition to taking precautions or adopting healthy habits, you can clean your lungs by maintaining a healthy diet. The best foods to achieve this are the following:
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat, which, together with monounsaturated, make up healthy fats.
They are obtained mainly from fish, such as tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout, linseed or flax seeds or oil, nuts, chia seeds, canola or soybean oils, avocado and tofu.
There is evidence that this type of healthy fat is great for cleaning the lungs. This is because a diet rich in omega 3 promotes blood flow through the lungs, helping to prevent various inflammatory and infectious respiratory diseases.
Berries or red fruits
Berries, red fruits or fruits of the forest, that is, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or blackberries, are ideal options to cleanse the lungs thanks to their richness in flavonoids, compounds with antioxidant properties.
Turmeric and ginger
Turmeric and ginger belong to the Zingiberaceae family, so they can be considered relatives. In both cases, the rhizome, the horizontal underground stem of the plant, is used.
These foods are considered beneficial for lung health because they are rich in vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium, thus providing protection against viruses and bacteria, reducing the risk of mucus accumulation in the lungs.
There are different herbs that have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, expectorant and antioxidant effects, so they are ideal for keeping the lungs clean:
- Altea or Marshmallow.
- Faya or beech.
- Filipéndula or queen of the meadows.
- Ash tree.
- Soap herb or saponaria.
- Cheese grass or mallow.
- Viola or violet.
All can be easily incorporated into most dishes, although the best way to take advantage of their properties is through decoctions or infusions.
- Why is it difficult to breathe when we exercise?
They can also be added to water used for steam inhalations.
Green leafy vegetables
In this category you can find chard, broccoli, spinach or kale. All these vegetables are characterized by being rich in antioxidants, which help eliminate toxins from the body, thus keeping the blood and lungs clean.
In recent years, different studies have indicated that green leafy vegetables, especially crucifers, are vegetables that should be part of the diet of all or ex-smokers.
Carrots are one of the best sources of carotenoids, a type of antioxidant with anticancer effects.
This is ideal to protect the lungs and keep them in good condition, there are even studies that highlight the association between carotenoid intake and a lower risk of lung cancer.
While carrots are great sources of carotenoids, you can also find them in tomatoes, bell peppers, or kale.
The dry unfermented leaf of Camellia sinensis is known as green tea, a plant from which other varieties of tea also arise, such as Oolong, Pu-erh or black.
Although it is not a food, green tea is an infusion that has a long tradition in the care and cleaning of the lungs. This is because it is rich in compounds with antioxidant properties, such as polyphenols or catechins.
Until significant scientific evidence from human trials is available, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should exercise extreme caution.
Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.
Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.
Sources consulted: Comprehensive Natural Medicines Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.