Take a deep breath in and out. Repeat. How are your lungs feeling? The sensation of clear and easy breathing isn’t something to take for granted. All living organisms need oxygen to survive and breathing is essential to all of the body’s functions. Continue reading to learn more about the importance of lung health and what you can do at home to maintain a clean and healthy respiratory system!
The Importance of Clean Lungs
Our lungs are a pair of organs located in the upper part of our ribcage. Their main purpose is to serve as the point of entry for outside oxygen to enter our bloodstream and an exit point for the carbon dioxide that we produce when we breathe. Maintaining clean and healthy lungs is vital to our overall health.
When we stop exposing our lungs to toxic substances, such as tobacco smoke, they have the incredible ability to clean and heal themselves. During the cleaning process, the lungs generate mucus (phlegm) that can accumulate, causing us to feel congested. However, nobody likes feeling congested! This is why understanding how to keep your lungs healthy is important.
Keep in mind: Smoking is the most common way toxins can enter the lungs, however other activities such as using spray paint, chemical powders, and breathing in internal combustion engine fumes can also affect the lungs. If you’re exposed to any type of gas or suspended particles in the air at work, we recommend that you use a respirator at all times to better protect yourself.
Natural Ways to Cleanse the Lungs
If you’re looking for ways to cleanse your lungs and help your organs recover quickly, you’re in the right place! Continue reading to learn about the most effective natural remedies to keep your lungs clean.
When your lungs are inflamed, breathing can be hard and even painful. Eating anti-inflammatory foods is one of the easiest ways that you can help your body combat inflammation. A few of these foods are:
1. Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables belong to the Brassicaceae family. Their anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties have been studied extensively and can be an excellent way to cleanse your lungs. A few types of cruciferous vegetables are: broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collard greens, and arugula.
Garlic is one of the most commonly used ingredients in cuisines around the world! Cultivated from the root of the Allium sativum plant, garlic contains large quantities of anti-inflammatory compounds that can help alleviate a few respiratory system problems.
Turmeric is another root with proven anti-inflammatory properties for the respiratory system. Widely used in Asian cooking, this bright yellow tuber can add a unique, subtle flavor to your favorite dishes while helping to reduce inflammation in the lungs.
In addition to eating a healthy diet, there are a few exercises that you can do to help cleanse your lungs. These exercises work to facilitate the process of expelling phlegm after it detaches itself from the alveolar walls located within the lungs. Here are the most effective exercises:
Controlled coughing is an exercise that attempts to mimic the body's natural reflex of coughing to help us expel excess phlegm or mucus from the respiratory system. Follow these steps to practice this technique:
- Sit on a chair with your shoulders relaxed and your feet flat on the floor.
- Cross your arms over your stomach.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose.
- Lean forward and breathe out slowly, pressing your arms against your stomach.
- With your mouth half-open, cough two or three times while you breathe out.
- Straighten your back and breathe in slowly through your nose.
- Rest for a few moments and repeat as many times as necessary.
Postural drainage is another type of exercise you can do at home to cleanse your lungs. It uses gravity to get rid of phlegm. Here’s how to do it:
- Put yourself in one of these three recommended positions:
- On your back: Lay down and put a few pillows under your pelvis so your chest is lower than your hips.
- On your side: Use your arm or a pillow to support your head, lay on one of your sides, and put a few pillows under your hip.
- On your stomach: Lay on your stomach with a few pillows under it so your lungs are lower than your hips.
- Stay in this position for at least five minutes while you practice 1:2 breathing. This means that you should exhale for about twice as long as you inhale.
- If you did the exercise on your side, repeat it on the other side.
Doctors normally use this technique to help clear the accumulated mucus out of the patient's lungs, but you can try it at home too. Chest percussion consists of patting the patient’s back and chest while they’re in a postural drainage position. Ask someone to cup their hands (fingers together) and pat your chest and back for at least four minutes. These light taps will help detach the phlegm from your lungs and make expulsion easier.
High humidity environments can help facilitate natural lung cleansing. If you’re feeling congested, vapor therapy is a great option to consider. You can use a humidifier in your bedroom or take a hot bath or shower. Another effective vapor therapy option is to breathe in steam using the following method:
- Fill a pot halfway with water. If you want, you can add a sprig of rosemary or some eucalyptus leaves to add a nice scent.
- Carefully transfer the pot to the table.
- Sit in front of the pot and put a towel around your head to direct the vapor toward your face.
- Breathe in the vapor for at least five minutes.
- Dry your face with a towel and rest.
Healthy Habits for Clean Lungs
Healthy habits that protect your respiratory system are the most important things you can do to keep your lungs clean and healthy. Follow these simple tips to better promote better lung health:
- Quit smoking. Did you know that smokers are 20 times more likely to develop diseases like pulmonary emphysema? Tobacco smoke is one of the most damaging substances that we can expose our lungs to. If you currently smoke, the best option is to quit.
- Drink plenty of water. Keeping your body well hydrated is not only vital for optimal lung function, but also benefits the circulatory and digestive systems. Try drinking at least eight glasses of water per day (67 ounces).
- Keep your home well-ventilated. A lot of solid particles like dust, pollen, and spores can be harmful to our lungs and gather when the air is stagnant. In order to avoid exposing yourself to these suspended particles, keep your home well-ventilated at all times.
- Clean your air conditioning system periodically. Home ventilation and air conditioning systems have air filters that should be cleaned often. Avoiding this can expose you to allergens and particles that can negatively affect your respiratory health.
- Exercise. Aerobic exercise is another easy way to keep your lungs healthy. When we exercise, the movements we make help get rid of the mucus that’s stored in our lungs. Exercise also helps increase our lung capacity, which strengthens our respiratory system.
Take Care of Your Health!
We hope this article has served you in learning more about the importance of lung health and how you can keep your lungs clean. Remember, taking care of our respiratory system is not only fundamental to our physical health, but also in helping us live our best life possible.
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