Did you know that eating specific foods can help maintain your lung health? Here’s what you should eat for healthy lungs
The lungs are delicate oxygen factories that are highly sensitive to external factors. Even soap bubbles and specks of dust can damage thousands of its cells. But unlike other internal organs, the lungs are one of the few organs that interact with the environment. As a result, they are exposed to many pathogens, pollutants, and allergens every day. But the lungs are very cooperative organs. Small tweaks in diet are enough to keep them fit as a fiddle.
So, here is a list of 10 superfoods that work wonders for lung health by Dr. Nikkilesh Anand, Consulting Geriatric Physician, Alserv
Red, juicy tomatoes are rich in lycopene. This gives them antioxidant properties that reduce inflammation of the airways and helps prevent asthma. Add them to sandwiches, salads, gravies—the options are limitless. Tomato juice is also a great addition to daily meals.
Green tea is to the lungs what apples are to the eyes. They relax the muscles of the lungs and reduce inflammation in them. Two cups of green tea a day is the recommended amount to boost metabolism and keep the lungs healthy.
Regular consumption of walnuts has many health benefits. It increases lung capacity. They are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that increase muscle strength and health. For senior citizens, this means fewer breathing problems. A handful of walnuts is the perfect serving size.
With high levels of vitamin A, apricots maintain and repair the lining of the respiratory tract. This helps lower the risk of infections and decreases inflammation. They can be consumed raw, dried or as jams - the possibilities are all delicious.
Regular consumption of garlic provides the lungs with ample amounts of allicin, a compound that can kill harmful bacteria in the lungs and reduce infections. Crushed, chopped, or grated, there is no going wrong with garlic. Pickled garlic cloves are also a great variation, but seniors should consume them in moderation to avoid heartburn.
Broccoli has high fibre content and the ability to fight lung inflammation. The high levels of sulforaphane inside it also kill harmful bacteria. Raw or boiled broccoli in salads or side dishes is the recommended mode of consumption.
Eating ginger is a great way to detox the lungs. It has the power to remove pollutants from the lungs and relieve congestion in the airways. Grated or ground ginger steeped in a cup of green tea is one of the most potent detox drinks. A close contender is hot ginger water, lemon, and a dollop of honey.
Brown rice, oats, barley, and other whole-grain items are great antioxidants. They can reverse the effects of inhaling polluted air. The high vitamin E and selenium content in them also improves lung metabolism.
Leafy vegetables are chock full of necessary vitamins that boost lung health. Spinach, cabbage, and lettuce are great examples of easy to cook greens. These versatile foods can be consumed in salads, curries, rolls, wraps, and smoothies.
Fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and sweet lime contain high amounts of vitamin C that fight respiratory infections and improve breathing. These can be eaten raw as a morning or evening snack, or as a refreshing juice.
These superfoods are a great way to increase lung health and function. However, some foods like apricots, tomatoes, oranges, and walnuts are not recommended for those with dietary constraints. In case of restrictions, always consult with a doctor to understand what foods can be added to the daily meal plan.
With inputs from Dr. Nikkilesh Anand, Consulting Geriatric Physician, Alserv
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