We need to breathe to live – it’s a simple and obvious fact of our existence. It stands to reason that since breathing is so crucially important, we should all be paying special attention to keeping our lungs in optimal condition.
According to statistics compiled by the American Lung Association in 2011, 25.8 million Americans are afflicted with asthma, 7.1 million of these being children under the age of 18. Asthma is one of the most pervasive childhood illnesses in this country.
The American Lung Association also states that every year, 370,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer.
In order to support the health of our vitally important lungs, it can do a lot of good to follow these five steps:
Amp up the cardio
Getting your heart going through regular cardiovascular exercise isn’t just important to a healthy heart; it is key for healthy lungs as well. When your cardiovascular system is in top shape, your lungs can supply your body with its necessary oxygen with greater ease.
Eat antioxidant-rich foods
Chowing down on a rainbow of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables provides your body with antioxidants to reduce inflammation and prevent free radical damage to your cells. As lung inflammation can have serious implications, supporting your lung health with antioxidants is a wise choice.
Cruciferous veggies, including kale, broccoli and cabbage, have been found to be especially good for the lungs, as some research has found that they may help reduce your risk of lung cancer.
Invest in indoor air quality
While we may not always be able to avoid outdoor pollutants, we have much more control of our indoor environments. Proper ventilation is key, and growing a few houseplants can actually help neutralize some of the toxins in the air. For more ways to breathe easy in your home, check out our guide to optimal indoor air quality.
Switch to natural cleaning products
Many of the sprays and scrubs we use to clean our homes contain dangerous chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ammonia and phthalates. An array of other chemicals is permitted in these products as well, and some have been found to be potential carcinogens – and we breathe them in every time we clean.
Strongly consider switching to natural, organic cleaners, or make your own. For many dirty jobs, white vinegar or baking soda may be all you need.
Stay away from smoke
This one is obvious: we all know smoking is one of the worst decisions we can make for our lungs, and for our overall health in general. Cigarettes are linked to lung cancer, emphysema, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Secondhand smoke is also dangerous, so avoiding smokers in a confined space is essential.
-The Alternative Daily