Here are some superfoods that can help you breathe easy
Our body has five main eliminatory organs and the lungs is one of them. The main function of lungs is to perform exchange of gases in our body, also know as respiration or breathing. That’s why reduced lung function means the body’s ability to exchange gas is hampered. Mucus that is produced in the lungs is also important and needed by our body in right consistency to trap and keep toxins, microbes, and pollutants out from the system. Most problems arise when the consistency of mucus thickens or its production increases.
If you have trouble breathing — this means lung function has been affected, and your daily activities, routine or even eating a meal can be a challenge. Healthy eating is particularly important if you have lung issues, and a few foods that help in controlling the inflammation in the lungs are listed below:
Oregano: The active components present in oregano are Carvacrol and Rosmarinic acid that help in detoxification and act as natural decongestants. Add this herb to your routine to clean the lungs.
Peppermint: Peppermint oil can be used for exercises during deep breathing because it has antioxidant properties and fights harmful organisms, plus relaxes respiratory tract muscles and promotes free breathing.
Tulsi: Though present in every household, we don’t really use it often. This herb is considered auspicious and has many medicinal properties, one of which is to reduce congestion and clear up the lungs. Many kadhas and concoctions are incomplete without it. Plus tulsi oil can also be used for application on the temple of the head and while deep breathing to keep lung health in check.
Tumeric: The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric help to cleanse the body. Thus it helps in reducing inflammation from lungs too. Drinking turmeric water is also helpful.
Ajwain seeds: These seeds help clear mucus and phlegm from the lungs and it will also help rid the intestinal tract of mucus. You can chew these seeds or boil them in water and drink.
Onion & garlic: The anti-inflammatory properties of onion and garlic help in reducing inflammation and fighting infections in cleaning the lungs.
Ginger: The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger clear the lungs from pollutants which could cause health issues.
Apart from the superfoods suggested, try to eat small, frequent meals, which can reduce shortness of breath caused by an extended stomach pressing on the diaphragm. Avoid gaps longer than three to four hours between two meals. Small meals also reduce reflux as well as the amount of oxygen required to chew and digest. Have protein-rich food that will help the body restore your lung and muscle strength for breathing and will also promote immunity. You can include organic lean chicken, free range eggs, and pulses to increase your protein intake.
Drink lots of water to help thin lung secretions, clear the lungs, help the immune system fight infection and prevent dehydration. Gas producing food can make you uncomfortable, so it may be best to limit foods that may cause gas, such as: broccoli, cauliflower, beans, corn, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cucumbers, melons, fried or greasy foods and carbonated beverages. Avoid processed food, eat everything that is fresh or freshly prepared. Avoid too much of salt and sauces (sodium), which makes the body retain water and can increase swelling and make breathing more difficult. Eat normal food but in smaller quantities because it will help in smooth breathing. If you eat more food at a time, it will increase your stomach size and put pressure on your diaphragm, which will make breathing difficult. Also, eat less at night to avoid breathlessness while sleeping. To control the above factors, one should always focus on chewing food well so that we end up eating smaller portions.
Let’s follow these few tips along with staying active to keep our lung health in check.
(The writer is Chief Nutrition Officer, Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems. She is a clinical nutritionist with a focus on healthy lifestyle choices.)
Photo credit: Richard Ecsedi on Unsplash