How to Improve Lung Function with Diet and Nutrition

by Dr. Nick Zyrowski February 20, 2023

Our bodies need oxygen to function properly. Without it, we couldn’t survive. That’s why our respiratory system is crucial. Lungs help our bodies bring oxygen in during inhalation. Our lung health is one of the most vital aspects of our overall wellness, but many of us wait for our lungs to fail before we start learning to take care of them. Since prevention is always better than a cure, let’s explore some lifestyle strategies to improve lung function with diet and nutrition.

How your lungs work

Your lungs are part of your respiratory system. The respiratory system includes the heart, circulatory system, veins, arteries, and capillaries. Your lungs are a pair of pyramid-shaped organs inside your chest that help to bring the body oxygen when you breathe in and release carbon dioxide when you exhale. Lungs also help with the necessary gas exchange adding oxygen to your blood and removing the carbon dioxide waste from your body. (1)

The lungs work with your entire respiratory system to protect your body from toxins and harmful substances by filtering the air you breathe. This process also happens through coughing, sneezing, and swallowing.

Healthy lung function

When your lungs are healthy, they work with your respiratory system to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues. Your circulatory system moves blood from and to your lungs to help accomplish this. The lymphatic system and immune system depend on your respiratory system. Your lungs don’t work alone but play a vital role in your body’s health. It’s no stretch to say that your entire body depends on the health of your lungs. (2)

Causes of lung issues

There are various causes of lung issues that can affect people. Many of them are preventable. It’s critical you understand what causes your lung problems, so you can learn how to protect them in the future. The most common causes of lung issues are:

  • Smoking
  • Inflammation
  • Infection
  • Mold exposure
  • Air pollution
  • Hypertension

If some of these surprise you, it may be because you’ve heard that these may be hereditary or that you must learn to live with the problems because that is how your body functions. For instance, you may have asthma and have gotten told the only remedy is a pharmaceutical drug. What if that’s not always the case?

Since you need air to survive, it makes sense to take care of your lungs. Things like chronic inflammation can lower your immune function and make you more susceptible to respiratory infections. These infections can increase the risk of more long-term lung issues, which may mean having chronic health conditions later.

You may also develop chronic inflammation due to a poor diet and too much stress. It’s like a chain reaction that happens in the body. Inflammation can occur when you have exposure to irritating chemicals that make it difficult for oxygen to pass through the lungs into your bloodstream. (3)

Bacterial and viral infections may increase the risk of lung problems. Commonly, people develop bronchitis or pneumonia that can compromise lung function. Often, this occurs from bad cases of flu, covid, or the common cold.

You might not know about pulmonary hypertension, but it’s where you have high blood pressure in your lungs. It affects the blood vessels between the lungs and your heart. This condition often happens to overweight people or those taking certain medications.

Improving lung function

Now that you know what causes lung issues, you can learn the natural strategies to improve your lung health. Your body depends on a healthy set of lungs to function well, so taking care of them must be a priority.

Get inflammation down

Chronic inflammation can lower your immune function and make you highly susceptible to respiratory conditions. One of the best ways to decrease inflammation is to eat a nutritious diet. You’ll want to remove inflammatory foods like refined sugar, seed oils, fried and processed foods, and artificial ingredients. Eat anti-inflammatory foods that nourish your lungs, like healthy fats and proteins, fermented foods, and vegetables. You can also enjoy low-glycemic fruits, nuts, and seeds.

A powerful supplement that works to drive down inflammation is NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine). NAC is the precursor to glutathione, the master antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals in the body. It can improve lung function by decreasing inflammation and breaking up mucus. It also helps to reduce inflammation in lung tissue and bronchial tubes. Studies have shown that NAC boosts the immune system and suppresses viral reproduction. (4)

Reduce stress

We all have a certain amount of stress. Sometimes that stress can be overwhelming and get to chronic, unhealthy levels. Engaging in activities that lower your stress can support lung health. There are many options for reducing stress, like breathwork, journaling, meditation, a positive mindset, exercise, and other enjoyable habits. Relaxation practices can greatly improve your stress response. (5)

Improve sleep

Too many of us have no sleep routine. We watch television mindlessly in bed or stare at our phones with the blue light wrecking our melatonin levels. Then we wonder why we feel so tired the next day.

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Doing this will support your circadian rhythm, which is your natural sleep cycle. You want to focus on quality sleep rather than small bursts of rest. Have a calming routine before bed. Shut down your electronics two hours before you go to bed. Take a warm bath, and try magnesium at bedtime to help relax your muscles and calm anxiety.

Exercise

When you move your body, it helps to pump your heart and move more oxygen to your lungs. You can mix it up with some cardio and strength training. There are many low-impact exercises, like yoga, walking, or pilates.

Simple walking improves your circulation and stimulates lymphatic drainage. As your fitness improves, your body will be more efficient at getting oxygen into your bloodstream. Movement also makes your lungs and heart stronger. (6)

Keep your air clean

While we can’t do much to change the air outside, we can do our best to keep the air clean in our homes. Change your air filters frequently to prevent air toxicity and allergens. Most filters should get replaced once per quarter, but if you suffer from lung issues or have pets, you may want to change yours once a month.

Consider an air purifier to help improve air circulation. These can also eliminate mold buildup in your home. An air purifier can help remove more dust and allergens than regular cleaning and filter out particles that cause inflammation in your lungs.

Other supplements for lung health

Quercetin has proven benefits for lung health. It can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the lungs.

Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in berries that is a powerful antioxidant. It may help counteract lung impairments and reduce the severity of airway diseases.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids are known to reduce inflammation in the body. It can also benefit asthma symptoms and improve lung health.

Natural strategies

You can use natural strategies to improve your overall lung health. Taking care of your lungs isn’t as complicated as you may have thought. It simply requires the knowledge that you put into action. Since your lungs are paramount to a healthy body, it makes sense to take great care of them now. With the best information, you can take your health to new heights. Combining adequate nutrition with lifestyle improvements can make a dramatic difference in your lung health. If you’d like to get started with a program that provides comprehensive educational resources, contact ustoday to see how we can help you achieve incredible results.

References :

https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/living-with-copd/nutrition

https://www.lung.org/about-us/our-impact#:~:text=More%20than%2034%20million%20Americans,includes%20emphysema%20and%20chronic%20bronchitis.

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/lungs#:~:text=Your%20lungs%20are%20the%20pair,is%20exhaled%20(breathed%20out).

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/lungs/body-controls-breathing

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pneumonitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352623#:~:text=Pneumonitis%20occurs%20when%20an%20irritating,have%20been%20linked%20to%20pneumonitis.

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/breathing-to-reduce-stress

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7649937/

https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/wellness/exercise-and-lung-health

https://www.texashealthhuguley.org/blog/benefits-regular-exercise-can-have-your-lung-health

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818249/

Dr. Nick Zyrowski
Dr. Nick Zyrowski



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