The conversation on nutrition and lung health has largely centered on the antioxidant properties of fruit and vegetables and the medicinal lore of ancient herbs, but there’s more to this story. Let’s take a closer look at four “food groups” that can benefit lung health.
Fruits and Vegetables
Research suggests certain fruits and vegetables consisting of anti-inflammatory Vitamins C and E can help fight chest infections. Additionally, most fruits and vegetables have flavonoids and antioxidants, which can help control cell damage and assist in maintaining healthy lungs. Consider adding oranges, apples, berries, tomatoes, sweet peppers, beets, or broccoli to your list for your next grocery store run.
Grains and Legumes
Vegetables get a lot of credit for their high fiber content, but for another source of dietary fiber, you can also turn to legumes, whole grains, and nuts. Fiber supports feelings of fullness and healthy weight management. Recent studies have shown a statistically significant relationship between lung function measurements and dietary fiber intake as well! One fun fact about fiber-rich foods like lentils, barley, and raw oats is that they also serve as natural prebiotics. You can learn more about how dietary fibers help support a healthy microbiome here.
Lean Meat or Plant-Based Protein
Foods like chicken, fish, eggs, beans, and almonds are all high in protein – an essential nutrient that play a role in maintaining muscles. Did you know respiratory muscles play a crucial role in the expansion of ribs during breathing? You can also try these breathing exercises or these yoga poses to exercise respiratory muscles and build core strength.
Herbs and Spices
Research shows that a number of herbs and spices have anti-inflammatory properties and can even support lung health. Consider incorporating spices like thyme, turmeric, ginger, garlic, oregano, and cayenne pepper. As an added benefit, they’ll add flavor to your cooking and potentially reduce your need to add salt!