What can we do to make sure we are prepared to tackle the many opportunistic viruses, increased ozone levels, smoke from wildfires, molds from excessive rains, pollens, and diseases that are out there trying to attack our lungs?  Welcome to the ever-changing world of our air quality.

Just like every other system in our bodies, our respiratory system, especially if impaired by disease, needs its own special attention. Whether or not you suffer from asthma, emphysema, or no overt lung disease at all, certain foods and lifestyles lend themselves to healthier lungs.

Tips to Keep Your Lung Healthy 

  • Avoid smoking or second-hand smoke
  • Avoid smoke-producing activities such as fire pits, fireplaces, bonfires, or burning of vegetation.
  • Monitor pollen counts and ozone levels (if you are sensitive)
  • Stay in air conditioning on humid days if possible
  • Exercise to your ability and within parameters outlined by your provider (if appropriate)
  • Avoid large crowds and children when flu and other viruses are surging.
  • Cover your mouth and nose in cold weather if you have cold-induced asthma or are sensitive to cold air.
  • Use any medications as directed by MD and do not discontinue without physician consultation.
  • Stay indoors when mold is the Northeast US, we see this in the Fall season when the leaves are down and the ground is wet.
  • Use an indoor air purifier and/or dehumidifier to enhance air quality

Foods for Lung Health

Food fuels the body and some foods can act to reduce or repair inflammation, resist certain types of illnesses or help reduce the risks of some cancers.

The Best Foods For Lung Health

  • Coffee (acts as a mild bronchodilator)
  • Strawberries and blueberries and other berries (strong antioxidants)
  • Whole grains for their antioxidant qualities and to help decrease inflammation (fiber)
  • Green, leafy vegetables (antioxidant and fiber)
  • High fiber sources
  • Dairy (although good for bone health can be a problem for anyone with a lot of mucus)
  • Water (your lungs need hydration to stay healthy and keep mucus thin)

Foods to avoid to maintain lung health

  • Too much salt (can increase blood pressure and cause retention of fluids)
  • Too much sugar (can cause inflammation)
  • Too much alcohol (especially wine which can contain sulfites that can exacerbate asthma and other lung conditions)
  • Dairy (it can increase the amount of mucus in the airway and lungs)
  • Bacon, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, and other processed meats that contain high amounts of salt and fat

Good lung health has never been as important as it has been recently.  There are a lot of risks in our everyday lives that we cannot avoid. Viruses, wildfire smoke, weather, pollutants, and pollens.  Try to minimize your exposure to irritants and stay healthy by exercising, eating right, and avoiding people who are ill.  These are your best defenses.  Always remember, if you suffer from any health issues, consult your physician before embarking on any diet or exercise regime. Breathe Easy!


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