Healthy Foods For Better Lung Health And Bad Foods For Lungs

A year ago we reassured ourselves that “this too shall pass”. Fast-forward to today, 2021, twelve months have passed, and we are accustomed to the new normal. With the conviction of having to live with this uncertainty etched in our brains, social life has taken a back seat. In reality, the days of dining out, house parties, and grand celebrations, wedding functions et al evoke nostalgia. Staying at home, all we can mull over is staying healthy, active, and improving lung health and immunity. ‘Oxygen deficiency’ has been the most used term in 2021 with the second wave of the pandemic creating havoc all over. Improving your lung health is the only way to tide over the fatal infection. Along with steaming and breathing exercise, consuming healthy food for better lungs.  To accomplish this feat, The Champa Tree and nutritionist Richa Nimeshwari bring to our readers, foods for better lung health as well as bad food for lungs.

Food for better lungs:

“Hydration is the first rule in maintaining your health. Water has the power of being the best detox for your body,” says Richa Nimeshwari, founder of Dietox Nutrition. “Indian cuisines are naturally rich in foods for better lung health as well as immunity as Indian spices are inherently healthy. Make sure to add healthy fats to fight inflammation. Along with these, include the following food items in your daily diet.”

1. Berries

Blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries are rich in anthocyanin. It is an effective antioxidant. It has been proven that regular intake of blueberries improves lung health by considerably reducing the rate of lung function decline.

A study conducted by the American Cancer society confirmed, the potential benefits of berries for lung health.

Therefore, the best food for better lungs. In addition, they are the best for heart and brain health. They are low in calories and high in nutrients. They also help in controlling cholesterol and blood sugar.

Foods for better lung - Berries

2. Pumpkins

Carotenoids (mainly Beta carotene) present in pumpkins are positively associated with lung health. These are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory medicines.  Studies have proven that smokers who regularly consume carotenoid-rich food have better lung health. Hence include pumpkins in your daily diet for better functioning lungs. Check out healthy breakfast options using blueberries.

Foods for better lung - Pumpkins

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is an inevitable part of Indian cuisine, primarily due to its medicinal properties rather than taste. Curcumin present in turmeric helps in alleviating chest congestion which in turn relieves asthmatic symptoms. The immunity-boosting drink turmeric-jaggery milk is the best food for the lungs.

Foods for better lung - Turmeric

4. Beetroot

Nitrates present in beetroot dilates blood vessels. Nitrates increase the use of calcium in muscles and thus they relax the respiratory muscles in the diaphragm. This in turn helps in improved respiratory function. Doctors usually prescribe beetroot supplements to patients with pulmonary infections.

Foods for better lung - Beetroot

5. Coffee

Unbelievable, yet true! 

Caffeine works on our lungs in a similar pattern like that of bronchodilator drugs. Studies have proven that the rate of respiratory mortality is less in coffee drinkers. However, it is advisable to limit your coffee consumption to twice daily and not more than that.

Foods for better lung - Coffee

6. Green leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are rich in Vit A, C, E, K, carotenoids, and potassium. These are key components for better lung health. 

Researchers from Warsaw University of life science in Poland and Karolina University in Sweden conducted a study on more than 40000 men in the age group 45-19 for thirteen years. The study proved that those who were taking more than five daily servings of green leafy vegetables were less likely to develop lung disease. 

Foods for better lung - Green Leafy vegetables

7. Whole grains

Flavonoids and vitamin C present in whole grains help in unclogging the air passage. When it comes to whole grains, the best foods for lung health would be whole wheat bread, pasta, rolled oats, etc.

Foods for better lung - Whole Grains

ECHRS recommended foods for lung health

In 2002, three countries participated in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECHRS). Adults from three countries answered a questionnaire to assess their diet and underwent spirometry (forced expiratory volume in 1sFEV1 and forced vital capacity FVC). They repeated this 10 years later. As per the study they recommended three foods for better lung health. 

8. Tomatoes

The decline in lung health is often attributed to age and lifestyle habits, such as smoking. Nonetheless, to regain lung health even after one has quit smoking is a task in itself. In the study by ECHRS, it was proven that consuming tomatoes regularly prevents lung health decline in ex-smokers. Try the tomato soup recipe shared by the champ tree and include it in your diet as one of the easiest recipes for foods for better lung health.

Lung health - Tomatoes

9. Apples

Flavonoids are another component that is vital in improving lung health. Apples are rich in flavonoids as well as Vitamin C and E. Apples lower the risk of lung cancer and asthma. This makes it an ideal food for lung health.

Lung health - Apples

10. Herbal tea

Herbal tea is another dietary product recommended by ECHRS. For a better lung health, the folowing herbal teas are the best suited. 

  1. Ginger tea
  2. Green tea
  3. Black tea
  4. Eucalyptus tea
  5. Licorice tea
  6. Mullein tea
Herbal tea

Bad food for lungs:

While we take immense care ingesting the best food to boost immunity, we should also take care to avoid or control a few food items during the pandemic. Richa Nimeshwari strongly opposes the use of the following food items.

1. Processed food and junk food

Food like packaged chips, sausage rolls, salamis, cakes, bacon instant meals, etc should be avoided. These are the food items that you could rely on when you are unable to cook due to exhaustion.

“They are rich in unhealthy fat and empty calories. These are linked to a wide variety of health issues and are detrimental to the immune system,” says Richa.

2. Excessive use sugar and salt

Sugar and salt are considered white poisons. The less you use, the better for your health. “It is advisable to limit the use of sugar and salt to less than 6 teaspoons and 1 teaspoon respectively,” added Richa Nimeshwari. If you are using canned food as a necessity, wash them before use to avoid excessive salt intake. As per the health statistics by WHO, 50-70% salt intake is through the food we naturally consume. Hence we should avoid using extra salt. Even if you are using sugar substitutes like honey, jaggery, etc, it is advisable to limit the use.

3. Alcohol

“Consumption of alcohol reduces the capability of the immune system.” says Richa. Regular use of alcohol undermines your body’s capability to fight against any infection especially COVID-19. Presence of alcohol in your body reduces the efficiency of the medicines.

4. Red meat

Red meat

Who recommends the use of less than 30% of the total energy intake of which saturated fat should be only less than 10%. Hence avoid red meat which is rich in unsaturated fat. If you are using red meat, trim excess fat. This applies to poultry as well. Try to use skinless poultry.

Nutritionist’s checklist for better lung health

  • It is very important to keep yourself hydrated always. 
  • Fluids must be ingested in plain water as well as fruit juices and smoothies. 
  • Short frequent meals should be taken every 2-3 hours. 
  • Make sure to have a protein-rich diet and simultaneously include probiotic and omega 3 rich food.
  • Do not skip carbohydrates.
  • Regularly do breathing exercises. Refer to the 5-5-5- breathing exercise shared by Richa.
  • Take steam twice a day.

Staying back at home is a rare time to spend with your family. Have family meals cooked together with love. On days when you are not feeling up to cooking log on to The Champa Tree and skim through the easy recipes. Keep the homemade instant foods ready and cook easily and rapidly.

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34 thoughts on “Healthy Foods For Better Lung Health And Bad Foods For Lungs”

  1. oh wow! such informative article! the most I know about lungs is that it’s used to breathe. This made me realise how much more it does, the benefits we get from it and how to take care of it. Such a helpful content! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I follow a healthy Lifestyle last 5-6 years or more and yes, your lists are not only for lung but also good for all other organs…lists for bad foods are bad fir overall health and wellness. It’s effects mental health too… thank you for your share.

  3. Since the pandemic has hit us, we all have been more focused towards eating right. Keeping our family and ourselves healthy is our priority now. I am saving this post and will for sure be including more of these food in our diet for a better lung health.

  4. I don’t know about Healthy Foods For Better Lung Health And Bad Foods For Lungs. Well written artice. I understand it. I will gonna try it. Important and healthy life. Thanks for sharing😊 👍

  5. I am a coffee drinker and was shocked to find that coffee is good for lungs. Thank you for sharing this now I have better idea about what is good for lungs and what is not good.

  6. pANDEMIC OR NOT, Its important to upkeep the health of the lungs . This is an informative blog of the food items for better lung health

  7. Thank you so much for sharing about it in details. I am going to share it with my uncle. I never knew pumpkin is good for liver. Thanks for sharing

  8. The list of food mentioned here are mostly part of the routine but I surely need to cut down more on processed food such as chips. Going to save this post for the further reference.

  9. This is so relavant in Today’s time. Covid has been a remainder for all to take care of body and mind before taking care of other things. I am trying to include most of these in my and my family’s diet.

  10. One of the serious after effects of Covid is throat and lung related problems. This list would definitely be helpful for all.

  11. This pendamic has taught us so many things. Eating healthy is very vital and your detailed information about what to eat and what not to can help most of us to stay fiy and healthy.

  12. This was a very informative blog. I didn’t know coffee helps in improving lung health. This was new to me. Rest all I do add to our meals and daily diet of my family. Leave veggies are a must in our meal.

  13. Given the lifestyle that we lead its imperative that we eat food that is healthy for overall body functions. And this post especially on lungs seems all the more nice since we are dealing with a pandemic effecting lungs the most.

  14. After covid we are now taking care of our health. Lungs are essential organ of our body so it’s very important to eat healthy, take steam to clean the lungs. Also practice breathing exercises to strengthen lungs.

  15. This is really one of the most informative post for everyone as we all need to take care about our health and lungs a lot!! Red meat even I heard is not good, and we need to cut it’s consumption!!

  16. This in undoubtedly a brilliant post by you and I must say that people should read it carefully and introduce these foods in their diet to protect lungs as COVID attacks the lungs leading to fatal

  17. Yes Pandemic has reminded us the forgotten treasure i.e. ‘Health is wealth’. Extremely significant about the food that are essential to keep the lungs healthy. Coffee is something came new to me.

  18. this is such a helpful and insightful post about lung health, never knew red meat isnt good for lung health.. will start consuming the same in moderation from now on

  19. An insightful post. I never knew the food items that could improve lung health. I look forward to bring these food items in my families meals.

  20. This is a very useful and timely post. Lung health is in thelimelight because of the pandemic.It is really good to know the right foods to eat and what to avoid.

  21. Wow! This post is truly a revelation as I had no idea that these foods helped better our lungs! And the Pandemic made us realize the importance of healthy and strong lungs . So glad I read this helpful post today!

  22. such an informative post and you have listed great food options for improving lung health. green leafy vegetables, fruits and whole grain are best for improving our overall health and wellbeing and they equally offer great benefits for our lung health too.

  23. We have never expected pandemic to affect our lives to this extent but the silver loaning is we started to pay attention towards many important issues. For example taking good care of our body. Last one year has shown us that life is unpredictable and we have to take care of to our best extent. Lungs getting affected during cover is surely a serious issue and paying close watch to what we consume can make a big difference. Good to know that we are including almost all these options mentioned in this list.

  24. It’s great that such simple foods available in our kitchens are great for our lungs! I guess we just need to look around and find these healthy fixes in our kitchen