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5 Tips for Tiptop Lung Health
I would venture a guess that lung health is not often on many minds. Out of sight, out of mind, right? It was for me until my grandfather passed away from lung cancer. Having properly performing lungs is important for the transfer of oxygen throughout the body, which impacts energy levels and the overall function of all systems of the body. Millions of Americans are impacted by lung diseases like asthma, COPD, mesothelioma, and lung cancer, which is the number one cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Below are 5 simple tips to keep your lungs functioning at 100% and help prevent possible lung conditions in honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month this November
Practice deep breathing daily. Take a few minutes each day to count to five while you slowly inhale and exhale deep breaths. Sit up with good posture and focus on filling your lungs and breathing through your diaphragm. This will strengthen your lungs and increase their capacity. Plus, it’s a great way to step away from the rush and noise of the day and relax.
Get rid of the toxins in your home. Did you know the air inside your house may be 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside? Without realizing it you may be polluting your home with everyday items. Household cleaners and hair products often contain unnatural chemicals that are sprayed around your home and eventually make their way into your airways. Use EWG’s guide to determine which products are healthy, or commit to only using products with ingredient lists you can actually read. Have a professional check your home for both radon and asbestos. The EPA estimates that because of the bedrock they sit on, 1 in 15 houses in the U.S. may contain radon, an odorless gas that can cause lung cancer with extended exposure. Homes built before the 1980s often contain asbestos in various insulation and tiling materials that causes mesothelioma, a rare cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. And of course, smoking inside the home (and at all!) is about the worst thing you can do for your lungs, and the lungs of anyone in the home. Secondhand smoke is estimated to cause about 7,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
Purify your indoor air. In addition to getting rid of the toxins listed above, you can purify the air in your home by using an air purifier or simply opening the windows when it is warm enough to do so. You can also introduce air purifying plants like a garden mum or peace lily that filter out toxins including formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia and make your home look beautiful at the same time.
Eat superfoods rich in vitamins and antioxidants. As if you needed another reason to eat your vegetables. Carotenoids are foods with red and orange pigments (like carrots and bell peppers) that contain antioxidants that cut the risk of lung cancer. Vitamin C packed foods assist with the transfer of oxygen and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts are beneficial for asthma. Other foods that promote lung health include pomegranates, grapefruit, and members of the cabbage family.
Talk with your doctor about your lung health at your annual checkup. Talk to your doctor about any symptoms you might be having like dry coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, low energy or anything out of the norm for your lungs.