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With all that’s going on in the world, one thing we’ve learned is the importance of health. We can protect ourselves from respiratory viruses in two crucial ways, lessening the risk of getting sick: create a strong immune system and boost respiratory health.
Check out this post for ways to strengthen the immune system.
In this post, learn five ways to boost respiratory health.
What Happens in the Lungs
When a respiratory virus enters the body, it first attacks mucus membranes and then moves to the lungs. The body reacts, creating inflammation in the lungs to combat the invader. Inflammation makes it more difficult for the lungs to oxygenate blood and push carbon dioxide out, leaving the person gasping for air. Health can quickly deteriorate as infection sets in.
To give the body and lungs the best defense possible, against bacterial and viral invasions, adopt these strategies.
Don’t Smoke or Vape
Smoking and vaping brings a foreign substance into the lungs, irritating them and setting off inflammation. Ultimately, smoking destroys lung tissue, decreasing the amount of oxygen the blood carries throughout the body. Plus, smoking suppresses the immune system. Breathing second hand smoke is just as harmful to the lungs. Avoid it too.
Thirty minutes a day moving the body improves respiratory health. Exercising causes us to take deeper breaths which expand the lung’s air sacks. Walking, aerobics, dancing, swimming, biking and gardening all increase respiration. Additionally exercise decreases inflammation in the lungs and throughout the body.
Try these specific breathing exercises to further benefit the lungs.
Breathe in slowly through the nose, to a count of five. Hold breath for three seconds, then breathe out through the mouth, pushing all the air out of the lungs. Repeat several times.
Breathe in slowly through the mouth, filling the lungs. Then push the air out through pursed lips, like you are trying to blow up a balloon. Empty the lungs. Repeat several times.
Eat Foods High in Antioxidants
Foods rich in vitamin C and antioxidants improve respiratory health. Add the following to your diet regularly:
- red bell peppers
- leafy greens
- Brussels sprouts and broccoli
- aromatic herbs such as sage, thyme, rosemary and oregano
- nettle leaf
- sweet potatoes
- raw organic honey
- cayenne pepper
Reduce Excess Mucus
Mucus is an important part of the body’s defense against invaders. It helps to trap allergens, bacteria and viruses. However, when the body produces too much mucus, it becomes a breeding ground, ramping up the reproduction of bacteria and viruses. Plus excessive mucus clogs the nose and airways, restricting airflow.
To help eliminate excess mucus, reduce or eliminate dairy and wheat products. Both can increase mucus production. And increase spicy foods. They thin mucus, which makes it easier to cough out.
Try a saline spray or rinse in the nose, to thin mucus and wash away allergens.
Clear airways with the steam from a hot shower.
And stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water thins out mucus as well.
Avoid Allergens and Pollutants
Allergens and pollutants clog the nose by increasing mucus production. Avoid being outside on days with a high pollen count or heavy air pollution.
Indoors control dust, wash bedding frequently and change filters on the air conditioner often.
And, eat a nutritious diet high in fruits and vegetables to avoid seasonal allergies, naturally. Such a diet strengthens the immune system which helps to alleviate allergy symptoms. Check out a list of inflammation reducing foods HERE.
Additionally, avoid the following foods, as they create inflammation in the body and weaken the immune system:
- canola oil
- GMO soy
- GMO corn
- dairy products
Journey Toward Health
The world continues to shift, daily. We have no control over many events occurring and situations unfolding. However, we can control what we eat, how much we move our bodies, how we care for ourselves and the perspectives we have.
A stronger, healthier body decreases the risk for illnesses and diseases and increases vitality and well being. No matter your age, it’s not too late to reclaim health and live a better life. Let’s journey toward health, together.
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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.