Did you ever stop to think about how the foods you eat impact your health? While we may have it drilled into our brains that we need to eat right to be healthy, did you ever stop to really think about how the foods we eat can affect us?
We are all aware that fried and processed foods can negatively affect our bodies. Eating foods high in saturated fats can cause inflammation, which can lead to an unhealthy situation in our lungs.
Let’s look at the nine worst foods for the lungs and what we can do to boost our immunity and maintain good lung function.
At the top of the list of the worst foods for lungs are processed foods. According to Harvard.edu, avoid foods that are high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and additives. These foods can weaken your immune system and cause inflammation, which affects the lungs. Stay away from foods like chips, French fries, cakes and cookies.
Harvard Health Publishing also notes to avoid fried foods for overall health. When foods are fried, they release harmful compounds that can cause inflammation, which can affect various systems in the body, including heart and lung function.
Adding too much food to your diet can cause the body to retain fluid, making it harder for your lungs to work properly. Too much sodium causes fluid retention, which makes the heart and lungs work overtime. The Cleveland Clinic notes that to properly cut down on sodium, look for it in places you might not even think about. Even fresh poultry is injected with or packaged in salt. Read the nutrition labels on all of the foods you purchase, and especially take notice of foods like cheeses, canned soups and vegetables, deli meat, and condiments.
Excess sugar can cause weight gain and inflammation, which makes it one of the worst foods for the lungs.
Dairy can be tough for some people and can cause the body to produce excess mucus, which can lead to breathing difficulties.
Many fried and processed foods contain trans fats, which increase inflammation and increase the risk of lung disease.
Consuming alcohol, especially in high quantities, can weaken the immune system and increase your risk of respiratory infections.
Red meats and full-fat dairy are foods that contain a high amount of cholesterol, which can cause inflammation and negatively impact lung health.
While generally considered healthy, soy can be one of the worst foods for the lungs because it can cause issues for some people. Soy can trigger allergic reactions or sensitivities that might affect lung function.
Remember, individual responses can vary widely and depend on many things, such as health conditions, allergies, family history, etc. For optimal lung and overall health, a balanced diet rich in lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats is always the right choice.
Now that we know the unhealthy choices let’s look at the best foods for lung health.
When you are making a conscious effort to be healthy and boost lung health, there are other things to remember in addition to these specific nutrients. Make sure to drink enough water to stay well-hydrated. Get regular exercise to maintain and increase lung function. And don’t smoke! Avoiding cigarettes, exposure to secondhand smoke, and limiting your exposure to air pollution and other irritants are important for healthy lungs.
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Linda Guerrera has been the Digital Content Manager for Health Products For You since 2022. A recipient of the New York State Broadcasters Award for Outstanding Work in Radio, she spent over ...
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