Lungs are one of the vital organs of the body. It aids in respiration, strengthens our body and most importantly, keeps us alive. However, people sometimes take it for granted. Not recognizing the importance of this organ in our daily life and indulging in poor lifestyle choices causes it to deteriorate.
We become alert and start taking care of lungs, only after we experience breathing troubles. This article educates you about the ways that will help your lungs to stay in the best functioning state.
Types of Common Lung Issues
Smoking, exposure to air pollution, lack of oxygen supply, selection of improper foods, lack of exercise are some of the reasons that contribute to poor health of lungs. All these things can cause common forms of lung diseases to develop in a person. Some of them are mentioned below as :
- The collapse of a specific or all parts of the lung. In medical terms, this condition is called as Atelectasis or pneumothorax
- Inflammation and swelling in the primary passages like bronchial tubes that carries air to the bronchitis
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Lung cancer
- Infection in the lungs or pneumonia
A person whose lungs are damaged or has a chronic ailment such as COPD lung cancer or emphysema, will notice one or more of the below-mentioned symptoms:
- Shortness of breath while performing simple activities
- Pain while breathing
- Persistent cough
- Gasping while performing any physical activity
- Cough linked with exercising
- Pain in the air passage (the path through which the air to enter and exit the lungs)
People who relate to any of these conditions are advised to seek specialized assistance of a primary care doctor. A series of tests can help in figuring out the root cause of the problem. With a better diagnosis, effective treatment can be planned.
Breathing Techniques to Improve Lungs Capacity
Your body has its internal natural defense system. It is designed to safeguard the lungs and keep germs and dirt away from the body. Here, are a few essential things that can be done to lower the chances of lung ailment and keeps them healthy forever.
Slow and controlled breathing is one of the best ways to enhance the capacity of your lungs. Proper breathing can aid a lot in keeping the lungs healthy and make them stronger and more resistant to fatigue. This, in turn, helps in warding off possibilities of infection too.
Breathing exercises are beneficial for people who suffer from respiratory issues like COPD, Asthma, chronic Bronchitis, etc. The correct form of breathing exercises help lungs muscles improves their strength and enhances the body’s stamina as well.
Breathing exercises are not just for the people who have got any respiratory issues. It is for everyone. Practicing it in the right manner can benefit anyone in the form of stronger breathing muscles, better endurance and improved lung capacity. Here are some major breathing techniques that have been seen to alleviate asthma symptoms, labored breathing and improve quality of life significantly.
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing is one of the important forms of breathing that keeps your lungs in the best working state. To perform this technique, a person has to first become aware of the diaphragm muscle that separates the lung from the other organs present in the abdomen. By inhaling air while focusing on lowering the diaphragm region, results in a deeper inhale. This technique is highly effective to increase the capacity of lungs to take in more air.
Diaphragmatic breathing is also called as “belly breathing”. It works by engaging the diaphragm that is considered to be the central respiratory organ involved in breathing. By performing this breathing technique daily under the supervision of a certified instructor helps in strengthening your lung muscles to a great extent.
2. Pursed-lips Breathing
Pursed-lips breathing is often recommended for beginners. It is easier to perform than diaphragmatic breathing. One can do it easily at home without the presence of any instructor. Pursed-lips breathing technique can be done at any time of the day.
This breathing technique helps in lowering your breathing rate and keeps the air passage open for a longer duration. Pursed-lips breathing technique enhances the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the body that promotes the normal functioning of the lungs.
To do this technique, you need to inhale air slowly through the nostrils. Perform an act of pouting or blowing a balloon. Now exhale air slowly through your pursed lips. The time taken by this type of breathing is twice than what is required in a normal breath. This process can be repeated for a few more times.
While performing the above breathing exercises, one must not experience any strain or discomfort. It has to be a slow and easy procedure.
What Types of Foods Promote Better Lung Health?
For the proper functioning of your body, the health of the lungs plays a critical role. If you suffer from lack of oxygen, then it can lead to serious respiratory ailments and conditions that include COPD, asthma, and pneumonia.
Such illnesses attack your lungs and cause difficulty in breathing. One of the best things that you can do is to keep them healthy by eating a nutritious healthy diet. Such type of diet is an investment to your healthier lifestyle. Here is a list of foods that you should incorporate into your diet.
1. Fresh Water
Needless to say, water is life. But water is very important for healthy lungs too. Dry lungs are susceptible to irritation. To prevent such condition, it is recommended to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily.
2. Fatty Fish
If you are a non-vegetarian, then you must include fatty fish in your diet. This fish is rich in healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids that makes it the best choice for healthy lungs. Both of these ingredients promote good lung health.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a popular proverb that shows the significance of apples in the proper functioning of the body. Apples are beneficial in promoting healthy lungs that exhibit sound function. Apple has got ample amounts of vitamins C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene that strengthens your lungs.
Apricots are another important food item that is linked with healthy lungs. It has good amounts of vitamin A that support the linings of the respiratory tract. Consuming apricots regularly also aids in lowering the chances of lung infections.
Foods that have high antioxidants promote better lung health. Broccoli is one such food that has plenty of antioxidants with NRF2-dependent features. It is one of the best greens that improves the functioning of the lungs. Eating broccoli also benefits people with the acute obstructive pulmonary disorder.
Walnuts are loaded with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Eating a handful of walnuts daily aids in fighting off asthma and other types of respiratory troubles effectively.
Beans is another way to support lung health. Pinto beans, kidney beans and black beans are some of its varieties that are rich in antioxidants. Eating beans daily helps in fighting off harmful free radicals in the body that causes damage to your lungs.
How to Clean Your Lungs?
Not many people know that the lungs are self-cleaning organs. They start to heal themselves when their exposure to contaminants ceases. This happens when a person quits smoking or avoids exposure to air pollution. There are a few methods that will help in removing the excess of mucus present in the lungs and enhance breathing.
1. Steam therapy
Steam therapy involves the inhalation of water vapor. This method opens up the airways and assists the lungs to drain mucus from it. Steam adds moisture and warmth to the air that improves breathing and loosens up mucus in the lungs and air passage. Inhaling water vapor assist in easy breathing and get quick relief from breathing troubles.
2. Controlled coughing
Controlled coughing is an act that expels toxins trapped inside the mucus. This procedure loosens excess mucus inside the lungs and sends it out of the body via the airways.
3. Expel mucus from the lungs
Another way to expel mucus from the lungs is by postural drainage. This method involves lying in varying positions and using the gravitational force to eliminate mucus from the lungs. Doing this practice not just improve breathing, but also assist in the treatment or prevention of lung-related infections.
4. Lifestyle changes
Besides implementing dietary changes and performing breathing techniques, there are a few lifestyle changes that would aid in the sound functioning of the lungs.
5. Stop smoking
To keep your lungs healthy, you need to quit smoking. Avoid second-hand smoke or any other form of the environmental irritant that can lead to infection in the lungs.
6. Stay active
Exercising and staying active help your lungs in its proper functioning. Regular activity in the form of a brisk walk, bike ride, house cleaning, etc. is beneficial for healthy lungs, a better mood and a healthier heart. Performing moderate-intensity exercise for about twenty minutes daily can make your lungs strong and healthy.
Laughing is another brilliant way to enhance lung capacity and work your abdominal muscles. It cleans your lungs by eliminating stale air and letting in fresh air into the lungs.
8. Get vaccinated
Get vaccinations such as the pneumonia vaccine and the flu vaccine to prevent lung-related infections and strengthen your lungs.
9. Improve the quality of indoor air
Use tools such as air filters in your house that reduce pollutants such as mold, dust, and artificial fragrances and circulates clean air.
Few Frequently Asked Questions about Lungs Health
1. What Natural Ways Can I Adopt to Keep Healthy Lungs?
Adopting healthy habits and lifestyle can help in maintaining the health of the lungs for several years. You can –
- Quit smoking
- Exercise to breathe slowly and deeply
- Avoid exposure to contaminants, toxins, and pollutants
- Prevent infections
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants
- Stay hydrated
2. Can Lungs be Detoxed Naturally?
Yes. There are natural and safe ways by which you can cleanse your lungs internally. These methods are as follows –
- Steam therapy
- Draining mucus from the lungs
- Controlled coughing
- Drinking Green tea
- Regular Exercise
- Anti-inflammatory foods
- Chest thumping
3. Is It Possible to Restore Lung Function?
According to research, it has been found that by consuming lung healthy foods such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, green leafy veggies, and adopting a healthy lifestyle, lung function can be restored.
These foods have the potential to bring down the rate of declination of lung function in adults. Cessation of smoking dramatically lowers the chance of development of lung diseases, such as COPD, lung cancer, and even early death.
4. What Foods are Bad for Your Lungs?
Some foods are not good for lungs and can lead to lung illnesses. Inclusion of these foods must be avoided. Few examples of these foods are –
- Acidic drinks and foods
- Carbonated beverages
- Cruciferous Vegetables
- Cold Cuts
- Dairy Products, and
- Excessive Salt
5. What Signs Indicate Damaged Lungs?
If you notice any of the below-mentioned signs, then it can be an indication that your lungs are damaged.
- Trouble in breathing
- Shortness of breath
- A feeling of not getting adequate air
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Persistent cough
- Coughing up mucus or blood
- Discomfort or pain while exhaling air
Stop the activities and habits that are causing damage and preventing you from having healthy lungs.
6. Does Slow Breath with a Few Seconds of Hold Strengthen Your Lungs?
Yes. Simple deep breathing can do wonders for your lungs. Deep breathing aids in getting closer to reach the full capacity of your lungs. You need to slowly take the air inside, and expand your lungs to its full capacity. Now hold the air for a few seconds. You can place your hands on your hips with the thumbs facing in the front direction. Slowly exhale the air, relax and repeat the process for another two to three times.
Just like other parts of the body, our lungs also need attention and care daily. To save from all the above negative consequences, it is important to start attending your lungs and take good care of it. It is necessary to prioritize the health of your lungs in your daily life. Incorporation of all the above ways will promote the best health of your lungs throughout life.
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