Home Articles 7 diet tips to protect & maintain your lung health against pollution
Lungs are sponge-like organs in the chest that are mainly involved in the breathing process. Simply put, they bring in the oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide from our bodies. When one breathes air in, it goes into the windpipe, also known as the trachea which further divides into tubes called bronchi that enter the lungs. While all our lives were at a standstill during the lockdown, nature thrived and got the space to breathe. In India especially, instances of mountain ranges being visible far away distance made headlines – whereas earlier due to high pollution levels, this was not possible. People rejoiced at the sight and marvelled at nature but now the sight seems to fade away as pollution levels are starting to rise again – owing to the end of lockdown all over the country.
Thus, even though the economy seems to be opening up, sadly the pandemic is not yet over and therefore our journey towards fitness and health has one more added variable to manage – immunity. Hence, while we are happier than the world as we knew it is going back to what it was in some ways, rising pollution may be causing severe damage to your lungs without showing you any visual indications. Surely, the rising pollution level is a world issue to deal with, but we can, on our individual end, step up to take care of our own lungs by maintaining diets, exercising, engaging in yoga and other helpful practices to lead a healthy lifestyle for overall good lung health. Moreover, anti-oxidants from the diet can negate the harmful effects on the lung function caused by pollution.
A balanced diet along with good exercise will not only help in making the breathing process easier by improving lung capacity but also produce a good amount of energy through the metabolism process. If you are looking for tips to improve and maintain your lung health against pollution, read on.
7 diet tips to keep your lungs healthy, ward off effects of air pollution
Eat small frequent meals that contain whole grains like whole wheat, bajra, jowar, ragi, other millets & steel cut/rolled oats in your diet as they are high in fibre; protein-rich foods like egg, fish, lean meat, milk, curd, buttermilk, paneer, soybean, pulses etc. To preserve muscle mass, fruits like amla, guava, oranges, berries, strawberries, kiwi and sweet lime that are rich in vitamin C and yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are rich in carotenoids which act as anti-oxidants & fight against infections.
Colourful vegetables and fruits like spinach, fenugreek leaves, beetroot, tomatoes, carrot, onion, broccoli & peppers that are rich in antioxidants along with garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, basil (tulsi), peppercorn, cardamom, green tea, green coffee & mint leaves must be included in the diet as they confer anti-inflammatory benefits that help build better health and boost the immune system.
Daily consumption of 2 teaspoons of cold-pressed virgin coconut oil – nature’s perfect superfood that is not only vegan but a very effective antiviral and antimicrobial agent boosts immunity and provides a powerful effect on metabolism due to Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) found in it that make it easy to absorb and pass through the blood and liver which is then converted into energy.
It is important to include healthy fats such as almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, pistas etc. along with carrots for a quick bite or snack since they are beneficial for lung health. A glass of freshly prepared unstrained carrot juice with a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil at breakfast or any time in the day will help improve and maintain healthy lungs.
It is important to stay hydrated and keep sipping water through the day except between meals. It is recommended to practice breathing exercises daily like pranayama and kapalbhati to strengthen and improve your lung capacity.
Avoid foods which are rich in simple carbohydrates and trans fats like biscuits, bread, butter, Khari, toast, cake, pastries, pav etc. that are high in sodium & preservatives and fried items like vada, cutlet, samosa, chips etc.
One must avoid lying down immediately after meals and of course avoid smoking and alcohol consumption completely for good health.
Pollution levels pre-pandemic were at an all-time high. While the pollution levels might be lower as of now, compared to earlier, it might soon reach and even shoot above those levels. Thus, the way one takes care of their fitness, stamina, skin and weight and many other things, one must also give priority to taking care of their lungs by making sustainable lifestyle changes. After all, health is the ultimate wealth!