Chronic respiratory diseases are a worldwide health problem. It's true that smoking, infections, and environmental air pollutants are the main risk factors. You may be surprised to find that the food you eat can also affect your breathing and your lung health. It's a risk factor that lies within your control!
Think about the high-oxygen environment our lungs are constantly exposed to! After our skin, they're the next organ most directly exposed to the outside world! This leaves the delicate tissue our lungs are made of prone to more inflammation and oxidation. The protective role of an antioxidant-rich anti-inflammatory diet may help preserve healthy and normal lung function, healthy airways, and prevent development of diseases such as COPD. It's also crucial for those who participate in vigorous exercise, since exercise makes your lungs work extra hard!
So what kind of diet helps keep our lungs working properly? Include the following foods and nutrients in your diet to help you breathe easier.
A diet that includes fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids is the first step. Omega-3 fatty acids metabolize into less inflammatory metabolites as opposed to omega-6 fatty acids. Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables also help maintain lung function. One antioxidant that stands out when it comes to protecting lungs is vitamin C. In one study, as little as 1-2 servings per week of vitamin C-rich fruit helped reduce symptoms of asthma and helped boost lung function in young children.
Excellent food sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits (grapefruit, orange, lime, and lemon), strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, papaya, and raspberries. Other sources that may come as a surprise to you include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale.
A high-quality source of protein is also a must. Even your respiratory system has muscles that need to be strengthened! Milk, eggs, cheese, lean meat, poultry, dried beans, nuts and peas are great sources of protein. EnergyFirst's Whey Protein Isolate is an easy way to incorporate high-quality protein into your meals.
To breathe easier, it's not only about what you eat but also how often you eat. In order to keep your blood sugar stable, regular meals are a must! It turns out that regular, portion-controlled meals and snacks also help your diaphragm move more freely. This makes it easier for your lungs to fill up and empty out.
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