The second wave of Covid-19 has hit us hard and it’s time for us to start thinking about our lungs. The virus first affects the upper respiratory system of our body (nose, throat and sinus) and in no time attacks the lower respiratory system (windpipe and lungs). Lungs are responsible for the supply of blood and oxygen to all parts of the body and Covid-19 can cause long term damage to them. That’s why it has become the need of the hour to keep our lungs healthy and strong.
Here are some ways to keep your lungs healthy
Quit Smoking for healthy lungs
Smoking increases the chances of lung cancer. When you smoke harmful chemicals such as nicotine, tar and phenols enter your lungs and spread through your body. The most recent available estimate states that smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in United States. This is nearly one in five deaths. Quitting smoking is one of the most important steps you can take towards having healthy lungs.
Foods for healthy lungs
Vitamin C proves to be very helpful in increasing the lung function. Apples happen to contain an ample amount of vitamin c. the antioxidants present in apples are good for lungs. Beetroots have nitrates help improve oxygen uptake by dilating the blood vessels and allowing more oxygen to be delivered to the muscles. It can also help in fighting severe symptoms of covid-19. Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene which aids in decreasing the risk of chronic diseases. Drinking 2-3 cups of green tea helps to increase the lung function.
Drink plenty of water if you want healthy lungs
Water is our life force. It is known that we should drink water regularly to maintain overall health. The lungs gave a thin mucus lining. Drinking enough water can thin this lining and make the mucus easier to clear out from the lungs. When you are water deficient, the linings of sinuses and airways become dry and irritated. If the airways become too dry you start to experience breathing related problems. Hence staying hydrated is very essential for maintaining healthy lungs. Health experts recommend 2 liters of water, which is around 8 ounce glasses, or half a gallon a day.
Stay safe from pollution
Exposure to polluted air speeds up aging of lungs and has a negative impact on your lung capacity. Try to stay away from second hand smoke. Travel at a time when there is less traffic on the streets. Long term exposure to PM (particulate matter) coming out of motor vehicles and industries reduce lung function and develops respiratory diseases. Usage of synthetic air fresheners can prove to be harmful for your lungs. Prevention of indoor pollution is a very an essential step to keep your lungs healthy. Dust and clean your floor and mats regularly, keep your ventilation system clean and keep indoor plants such as aloe vera, ficus to have fresh oxygen at home.
Start exercising if you want healthy lungs
Exercise makes the muscles work harder which results in the body requiring more oxygen. To cope with this extra demand, your breathing increases from about 15 times a minute (12 liters of air) when you are resting, up to about 40-50 times a minute (100 liters of air) during exercise. The more you exercise the more you increase your lungs efficiency. Some simple exercises to increase your lung capacity include:
Pursed lip breathing
Pursed lip breathing is simple exercise which helps to strengthen the lungs. It keeps your airways open longer and slows down your breathing and relieves from shortness of breath.
- Relax your shoulder and neck muscles
- Purse your lips like you are about to whistle.
- Breathe in for a couple of seconds through your nose.
- Exhale slowly through your pursed lips for 4 seconds.
Belly breathing makes your diaphragm strong, an important muscle that helps you breathe. It helps to lower your heart rate, reduces stress and strengthens your diaphragm.
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
- Breathe in slowly with your nose for 3 seconds. Feel your stomach expand. The chest should remain still.
- Breathe out slowly through your mouth for 3 seconds. Feel your stomach move back.
It the best exercise you can do every day to make your lungs strong. It prevents air from getting trapped in your lungs which can often be the reason behind shortness of breath.
- Sit or stand in a comfortable position with your elbows slightly back.
- Breathe in through your nose.
- Hold your breath and count till 5.
- Breathe out slowly through your nose until you feel the inhaled air has been released.
Laugh your lungs out!
They don’t say “laughter is the best medicine” for no reason. A healthy sense of humor can help you tackle this covid-19 stress. A good laughter can helps you provide exhalation, clears out your lungs by forcing enough stale air out that it allows fresh air to enter into more areas of lung. And thus the body gets more oxygen. Hence, start laughing more to your lungs healthy.
Keeping your lungs fit and strong has become extremely important. Eating healthy and exercising is very essential for strengthening your lung capacity. So be safe and take care of your lungs.