A lung cleanse will help you breathe easier if you've had respiratory problems. It's a sticky subject to be sure, but there's no pretty way to say phlegm. All kidding aside though, life is a struggle if we can't manage a deep breath. Consequently, lung vitality is as essential as having a strong heart and an alert mind. Indeed, healthy lungs keep your other organs functioning properly by providing life-giving oxygen. So, you can see why it's important to take care of this vital organ.
When I quit smoking, I couldn't believe the release of mucus from my lungs. It was disgusting and a huge relief. I hadn't taken a deep breath for years, but I didn't realize what I was missing until my lungs had an opportunity to do their job.
Lung and respiratory problems are complex and potentially life-threatening issues. This article explores options for a lung cleanse. It is not medical advice. So, if you are concerned about the health of your lungs or have trouble breathing, consult your doctor immediately.
What Can I Do to Promote Clear Lungs?
You've heard it before, but if you're still smoking, it's time to quit. Cigarettes are hazardous to lung health because nicotine constricts blood vessels and limits oxygen flow. Cilia line our lungs and remove foreign particles from them so they can do their job. Smoking prevents the cilia from working. But once you quit smoking, they come back to life, and that's when you cough up all the phlegm that's been inhibiting your breathing. Lungs can heal themselves, which means that even if you've been a smoker, you can help your lungs by quitting now. The longer you inhale smoke, smog, or other pollutants, the more challenging it is to flush the toxins out of your system. There's no time like the present to start a lung cleanse by stopping the smoking habit.
Pay Attention to the Air, Indoors and Outside
Smoking isn't the only thing that causes our lungs to work harder than they should. A lung cleanse could be as simple as paying attention to the air quality in your home.
Dust, pet dander, and chemicals used in cleaning all affect the condition of the air we breathe inside the house. There are things we can do to make our environment more lung-friendly. Sorry to say, it involves housework. But your lungs will thank you for taking the time to vacuum, dust, and mop. Don't use bleach or other chemicals; instead, opt for natural cleaners that are more friendly to the respiratory system. Choose products that are non-aerosol and fragrance-free for a breath of fresh air, indoors.
Humidity wreaks havoc on inside air quality too. Do regular maintenance to make sure there are no leaks encouraging mold to grow. Combat humidity by using a dehumidifier, of course, but also by running the fan on your stove while you're cooking. Better yet, use live plants to purify the air inside.
Outside air quality hazards
Pollution makes outdoor air quality difficult on the lungs. When the air is dangerously polluted, particles are visible, making the air look as heavy as it is to breathe. Heavy particle pollution is particularly dangerous to those who already have limited lung capacity, like young children, older adults, and you guessed it, smokers.
Wildfires cause problems too, degrading the oxygen in the air. Smoke makes breathing conditions hazardous not only where the fires are burning, but for hundreds of miles away as the smoke fills the atmosphere. A lung cleanse is necessary for people who breathe in smoke from the wildfires. Check the air quality index in your area and heed the warnings when you're advised to stay inside.
Drinking lots of water is vital for a lung cleanse if you've breathed in smoke from wildfires. The particle-filled smoke gets trapped in your lungs and moves through the bloodstream, potentially causing damage to your organs. Flush the contaminants from your lungs by increasing the normal 10 8-ounce glasses of water a day up to 12 to 14 glasses.
How Can Herbs Help a Lung Cleanse?
When cilia are doing their work, they flow together like little waves that create a current to remove impurities from the body. But blood vessels constrict from smoke and pollution, and as a result, cilia aren't able to move the way they should. Hot liquids can help get the cilia going again to loosen phlegm, which will aid in ridding the lungs of toxins.
Steep slippery elm and marshmallow root in hot water to drink as a tea that will support, lubricate, and relax the tissues in your throat and lungs.
There are a wide variety of herbs that will aid in a lung cleanse. For example, eucalyptus acts as an expectorant that eases coughing and upper respiratory congestion. It contains antioxidants that help strengthen the immune system when your body needs to fight off infection from a cold or flu. You can purchase this herbal remedy over the counter as a supplement, a therapeutic tea, and a variety of cough and cold formulas. Eucalyptus also comes as an essential oil, which is highly concentrated and should never be taken orally or put on the skin without being diluted.
Much like eucalyptus, peppermint oil acts as an expectorant that helps clear upper respiratory congestion. You can find it used as a natural balm to rub on the chest. Inhaling the vapors helps to cut through congestion. Unlike antihistamines, peppermint doesn't cause drowsiness. It does the opposite. Peppermint lifts the spirit and gives you energy even while you're using it as a lung cleanse. Peppermint is also abundant in nutrients including phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and calcium that fight off germs and toxins.
This cooking spice contains carvacrol and rosmarinic acid, which inhibit bacterial growth and are natural decongestants. Oregano oil is packed with antioxidants and contains vitamins A, C, and E complex, as well as the minerals zinc, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, and niacin. It helps relieve congestion, calms sensitivities to environmental irritants, slows cell deterioration, and also works as an antihistamine.
Curcumin is the powerful antioxidant in turmeric that blocks inflammation and fights oxidative stress in the lungs. Studies indicate that curcumin inhibits the activity of a protein called nuclear factor-kappa B, the culprit behind inflammation in the lungs. It also appears it has the same effect on cancerous cells. Findings suggest that turmeric works as a natural anti-inflammatory to treat respiratory inflammation. You can take it as a supplement or drink it in a tea.
Food to Activate and Protect Your Lungs
Mucus build-up is a problem that causes respiratory infections and affects our lungs' capacity to distribute oxygen. Mother nature provides a variety of foods that naturally break down phlegm so that the lungs can get rid of it a lot easier.
If you can take the heat, peppers are one food you should try for a lung cleanse. They work as a natural decongestant and are rich in beta-carotene as well as antioxidants. Studies indicate that they may aid in the prevention of the growth of cancer cells. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower are all part of a family known as cruciferous vegetables. They help detoxify the body and boost our immune system with antioxidants like vitamin C. Ultimately, a healthy immune system is the best way to protect your lungs.
Oranges are full of nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants that fight free radicals. The peel is packed with natural histamine suppressors too, which is excellent news for people who have allergies. Histamine reduces irritation, making orange peels an outstanding source for a lung cleanse.
Rejuvenate with These Lung Cleanse Recipes
Preparing for a lung cleanse can be a time-consuming affair. Or, it can be as simple as making little changes to the ingredients you cook with along with adding breakfast smoothies. Whatever you choose, be intentional, and notice the changes in your overall health. As oxygen flow increases, so will your stamina and most likely, your mood.
Lung cleanse with a refreshing smoothie
Try a combination of lemons, oranges, and pineapple to reduce inflammation and help control coughing. Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which causes a natural lung cleanse. Add peppermint to soothe and relax the respiratory system. This easy-to-make smoothie works to stimulate your lungs and help ease your breathing when you're congested. Give your lungs a hand and whip up this lung cleanse smoothie.
Try the Lung Institue's "Love Your Lungs Juice" to combat particle pollution. Cilantro helps remove the heavy metals, and carrots have natural sodium that helps rid the body of carbon dioxide. Carrots are also full of vitamin A. Add some ginger to improve circulation and reduced congestion, and you have a smoothy that will make your lungs breathe happily.
Exercise for Strong Lungs
Your body uses more oxygen and produces more carbon dioxide during exercise. So your breathing naturally increases from around 15 times per minute up to as much as 40 to 60 times per minute. And your circulation escalates to take in as much oxygen as possible. Of all the lung cleanse options that we've explored, exercise may be the single most important habit to implement for healthy lungs.
Exercise forces our lungs to distribute oxygen throughout the body, so our muscles have enough energy to keep up with the escalated exertion. Oxygen replaces carbon dioxide as we exercise, giving our muscles the energy they need. When you exercise, it forces your lungs to work out as much as it does the muscles that you're targeting. If your lungs are healthy, you might feel out of breath after exercising; however, you won't feel short of breath unless your lungs aren't operating at full capacity.
Deep breathing for a lung cleanse that starts in the diaphragm
If your lungs are healthy, breathing comes naturally as your diaphragm fills them with oxygen and then releases carbon dioxide back out as you exhale. Healthy lungs are "springy," but over time may lose their ability to expel all of the air out. Eventually, there's less room for the diaphragm to bring in new oxygen, and the body turns to alternatives for breathing, which results in lower oxygen levels. Breathing exercises get rid of stale air that's trapped inside the lungs and increases oxygen levels, getting the diaphragm back on the right track.
The American Lung Association recommends two breathing exercises to help get your diaphragm into shape. Though they seem simple, it takes a while to do them well enough to get optimal results. For the first exercise, you inhale through your nose as deep as you can, then you exhale through pursed lips -- like you're puckering up for a kiss -- letting the breath out all the way. When you feel there's no more breath to let out, keep going until you can't go any further.
The idea is to help your diaphragm release stagnant air, so make sure that you breathe out two to three times longer than it took to inhale. The second exercise involves your belly. Lie flat on the bed or floor with your hands resting on your tummy. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed, so your diaphragm is doing the work. Watch your stomach rise as your lungs fill with air, then let the air out for as long as you can. Do each exercise daily for up to 10 minutes to make room for new oxygen in your diaphragm.
Like a Breath of Fresh Air
A lung cleanse may sound like an intimidating prospect at first. However, it becomes part of the ritual when you begin to work on daily practices that ensure a better environment for healthy breathing. Vacuum, dust, and add a few houseplants to make the air inside inviting. Replace cereal or toast each morning with a smoothy that stimulates the lungs. It's a matter of habit. Exercise also is one of those things that we put off. Go ahead and start to exercise. Soon, it will become part of your daily routine. Your lungs will thank you for taking care of their health by providing you with plenty of oxygen, like a breath of fresh air, to fuel your day.
Trouble breathing may be a sign of a serious medical problem. If you are concerned about your lung health, contact your doctor. This article is for information only, not medical advice.
Featured image via Pixabay