Breathing is so natural that we sometimes take it for granted, until something’s not right. Noisy breathing and constant wheezing can mean that something unexpected is clogging or narrowing your lungs' airways.
If ignored, these symptoms may lead to respiratory issues. These should be taken seriously since they might be the early indicators of lung illness, such as COPD, asthma, or even lung cancer.
In this article, we'll discuss the most effective techniques and methods to help keep your lungs clean, clear, and healthy.
1. Keep your Lungs in Good Shape
Prevention is the best medicine, and working to keep your lungs healthy is much more efficient than trying to repair them after something goes wrong. Follow these tips to help keep your lungs healthy:
- Avoid smoking
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants.
- Get vaccinations, like the flu vaccine, Covid, and the pneumonia vaccine (if you’re older). This can help prevent lung infections and promote lung health.
- Exercise more frequently, which can help tonify your lungs and build stamina.
- Improve indoor air quality. Use tools like indoor air filters and reduce pollutants like artificial fragrances, mold, and dust.
2. Practice Breathing Exercises
Stale air that is accumulated over time leaves less space for the diaphragm to flex and draw in new oxygen. When the diaphragm isn't operating properly, the body resorts to breathing through other muscles, like the neck, back, and chest. This results in a reduction in oxygen levels and in the amount of reserve energy available for exercise and activities. These top two effective breathing exercises, can help clear the lungs of accumulated stale air, boost oxygen levels, and reactivate the diaphragm, if done consistently.
- Diaphragmatic breathing, or “belly breathing,” engages the diaphragm, which is supposed to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to breathing. This technique is particularly helpful in people with COPD, as the diaphragm isn’t as effective in these individuals and could be strengthened. The technique is best used when feeling rested. Read here to know how this exercise is done.
- Pursed-lips breathing can slow down your breathing, reducing the work of breathing by keeping your airways open longer. This makes it easier for the lungs to function and improves the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. This breathing exercise is often easier for beginners than diaphragmatic breathing, and you can do it at home even if no one has shown you how. It can be practiced at any time. Practice this daily by blowing on hot food and then breathe out slowly, taking twice as long to exhale as you took to breathe in. Then repeat. Over time, you can increase the inhale and exhale counts from 2 seconds to 4 seconds, and so on.
Visit here to learn more breathing exercises to improve your lung health.
3. Switch to Natural Remedies
Everything that stays in the air has the potential to enter your respiratory system, and some of those things might have a negative impact on your lungs. Fortunately, these herbal medications can help you avoid diseases and lung damage by strengthening and guarding your lungs against these threats.
- Peppermint (Mentha × piperita) - Peppermint isn't only a flavor enhancer that can be used in your favorite recipes and teas. It's also a powerful natural antihistamine, which means it can support respiratory health. It can keep your airways clear and open by preventing foreign bodies and allergens from triggering irritation in your respiratory tract. Learn more about the benefits of peppermint here. Try our Above the Fog blend, with peppermint and herbal adaptogens, to support your sinuses this season.
- Moringa (Moringa oleifera)- Moringa has been shown to help lower the intensity of asthma episodes and protect against bronchial constriction. It's also been proven to help with lung function and breathing in general. Learn more about how moringa can improve your overall health here.
- Lungwort or Lobaria (Lobaria pulmonaria (L.) Hoffm.) - Another long-used herb for respiratory health is lungwort, a weed known to grow in damp, pristine locations. The herb is rich in antioxidants that support health but are particularly effective in boosting respiratory function. It’s been used since at least the 1600s as a lung remedy and is ground into a powder for supplement use or used as a tea.
- Steam Therapy: Steam therapy, or steam inhalation, involves inhaling water vapor to open the airways and help the lungs drain mucus. Conversely, steam adds warmth and moisture to the air, which may improve breathing and help loosen mucus inside the airways and lungs. Inhaling water vapor can provide immediate relief and help people breathe more easily.
Try our facial steam therapy with Peppermint, Lavender, and Lemon Peel.
4. Food Matters
Lastly, a nutritious, well-balanced diet may help keep your body in optimal health. To keep your lungs happy, opt for variety in your meals from each dietary category. (Hint: More plants and less processed meals are better for almost everyone.) Here are some foods to avoid or restrict. as well as not smoking and other lung-friendly activities, to keep your lungs in good form.
Our lungs support our breath of life. Make an effort to focus a little of your energy by exercising your respiratory system, breathing in clean, filtered air, and incorporating herbs and whole foods into your diet. These small changes in your daily routine can help maintain your lungs efficiency for the rest of your life.