A Step by Step Guide to Cleaning the Lungs
Air pollution is a much bigger threat to our health than most people realize. Every day we are exposed to numerous toxins that are hazardous to our health. Chemicals in the beauty products and hygiene products that we use, smoke from cooking, dander from pets, dust and mold spores in the home, exhaust from cars, fumes from industrial waste, and so much more.
When we breathe in these toxins, they can damage our respiratory tract and can hinder our health significantly. Air pollution and unhealthy air quality are some of the most detrimental influences on our health, and yet, they are also some of the most neglected due to the microscopic size of most airborne toxins. In fact, the World Health Organization has stated that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants, while the UN has affirmed that over 7 million people die as a result of polluted air each year.
Breathing polluted air on a regular basis is something that you really want to avoid if you wish to have good health, and air pollution is much more common than you might think. Indoor air pollution is equally, if not more so, a threat to our respiratory health than outdoor air pollution.
Sources of Air Pollution
Air pollution can come from a wide variety of sources, including:
- Exhaust fumes from cars, buses, planes, trucks and trains
- Power plants
- Oil refineries
- Industrial facilities and factories
- Pesticides used for agriculture
- City smog
- Wood burning fireplaces
- Aerosol sprays like hairsprays, cleaning products, etc.
- Smoke from cooking
- Cigarette smoke
- Pet dander
- Mold spores
- Chemical fumes
When we ingest these toxins, they can damage our lungs and hinder our lung health. In this article, we are going to discuss how to clean your lungs naturally step by step, as well as how you can keep your lungs clean and healthy.
Step 1: Avoid Sources of Air Pollution
It should be pretty obvious that the first step to cleaning your lungs naturally is to limit your exposure to air pollution in the first place and to avoid sources of pollution at all costs. The body has an innate capacity to heal and regenerate itself. If we give it a break from consuming toxins, it will focus on self-healing rather than protecting itself from toxic exposure.
As long as we eat healthy and support our body with natural health habits, it will do most of the work in healing itself—but we must avoid continual exposure to toxins.
Step 2: Clean Up Indoor Air Quality
Though many of us are unaware of it, indoor air quality makes a significant difference in our health. Many people are unknowingly ingesting countless toxins that are affecting their health and energy levels on a daily basis. Some of the greatest sources of indoor air pollution are:
- Pet dander
- Mold spores
- Cooking fumes
- Fumes from hygiene products
- Fumes from cleaning products
- Filters on air vents that need to be changed
- Chemicals in carpets or in paint on the walls
There are many simple ways you can improve your indoor air quality, and consequently your health. Do your best to incorporate as many of these as possible:
Buy a High-Quality Air Filter – Having an air filter in the home (or multiple air filters for different rooms) can make a world of difference in your air quality. The best kind of air filter to buy is a HEPA air filter, which is a type of pleated mechanical air filter. HEPA is an acronym for "high efficiency particulate air [filter]" (as officially defined by the U.S. Dept. of Energy).
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website: “This type of air filter can theoretically remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm). The diameter specification of 0.3 microns responds to the worst case; the most penetrating particle size (MPPS). Particles that are larger or smaller are trapped with even higher efficiency. Using the worst-case particle size results in the worst case efficiency rating (i.e. 99.97% or better for all particle sizes).
All air cleaners require periodic cleaning and filter replacement to function properly. Follow manufacturer's recommendations on maintenance and replacement.”
Buy (A Lot Of) House Plants – House plants do an excellent job of purifying the air and freshening up the home. Obviously, the more that you buy the better able they will be to purify the air—just be sure you are willing to take on the responsibility of caring for the plants, as they are living organisms that require water and some specific light condition. If you don’t care for your plants, they will slowly die, and as they do, they may attract different creatures that feed on them (like extremely annoying gnats and flies)—not to mention they won’t be doing their job of purifying the air. If you want plants to keep the air clean, you need to help keep them alive and healthy.
Use an Essential Oil Diffuser—Essential oil diffusers can also help keep the air clean. An essential oil diffuser is also known as an aromatherapy diffuser. It disperses essential oils into the air and fills the area with a natural fragrance. Some essential oils have more purifying properties than others—like lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint and tea tree. Using an essential oil diffuser frequently can help keep your indoor space fresh and clean. You can also breathe in the steam from an essential oil diffuser to help clean the lungs.
Open Up the Windows—A simple but effective way to improve your indoor air quality is to open up your windows and allow some fresh air and sunlight into the house. Clearly, the helpfulness of this will differ depending on where you live. If you live in the heart of the city, it may not help as much to have your window open, as letting in “fresh air” may just be letting in the pollution of city smog. If, however, you live in a more suburban or rural area, opening your windows can allow fresh air into the home and can really freshen up the indoor environment.
Change Your Air Vent Filters—All of the air vents in your home have filters to capture dust and other particles. Over time, these can build up a layer of junk that makes them largely ineffective. Do your home a favor and replace these air vent filters frequently.
Avoid Chemical Sprays and Scents—While it may seem like air fresheners and candles could purify the air, many of them just smell fresh because of chemicals that are added to them and actually do much more harm than good. Do not use chemical-filled candles, aerosol sprays, or air fresheners if you wish to keep your indoor air quality clean.
Keep Your House Clean—Last but not least, keeping your house clean is an essential part of keeping your indoor air quality pure. Vacuum your carpets often, clean your countertops and showers, sweep—keep the house clean and this will make a great difference in the quality of air.
Step 3: Get Fresh Air Regularly
Indoor air often has a poor balance of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, especially in enclosed rooms with poor ventilation. While the steps mentioned above can help to improve indoor air quality, absolutely nothing compares to stepping outside for fresh air.
Fresh air generally has higher levels of oxygen (not to mention lower levels of pollution) than indoor air. Exposure to more oxygen causes the blood vessels in your lungs to dilate, which improves cleansing and tissue repair within them, and helps them exchange gases more easily. You clean up your lungs and help your body get rid of things it doesn’t need, simply by going outside and getting fresh air. Try to do this as much as possible, especially if you are focusing on cleaning the lungs.
Step 4: Practice Deep Breathing Exercises
Among the many things you can do to keep your lungs functioning properly are some simple breathing techniques. Breath work exercises can help people who are experiencing lung problems related to asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis, as well as regular healthy individuals that are looking to cleanse their lungs and improve lung health.
Diaphragmatic breathing is one form of deep breathing exercise that uses the awareness of the diaphragm muscle, which separates the organs in the abdomen from the lungs. You can practice this simply by concentrating on lowering the diaphragm as you breathe in, which will give you a much deeper inhale. This is a technique that professional singers use to increase their lung capacity.
Simple deep breathing can help you get closer to reaching your lungs' full capacity. As you slowly inhale, consciously expand your belly with awareness of lowering the diaphragm. Next expand your ribs, allowing the floating ribs to open like wings. Finally, allow the upper chest to expand and lift.
After this, exhale as completely as possible by letting the chest fall, then contracting the ribs and, finally, bring the stomach muscles in and up to lift the diaphragm and expel the last bit of air.
By practicing deep breathing methods in this way, you can provide your body with more oxygen and can also help to remove more carbon dioxide and toxins from your lungs when exhaling.
Step 5: Focus on Having Good Posture
Since the lungs are soft structures, they only take up the room that you make for them in the body. Occasionally, you want to focus on sitting tall to make more room for your lungs. A simple technique for giving your lungs even more room is leaning back slightly in a stable chair, lifting the chest and opening the front of your body as you breathe deeply. Doing this throughout the day can help you breathe better. Simply Taking Deep Breaths
Step 6: Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can also help to clean your lungs and improve your lung health. Exercise can improve physical and mental health, and it decreases the risk of many health conditions, including stroke and heart disease.
Exercise forces the muscles to work harder, which increases the body’s breathing rate, resulting in a greater supply of oxygen to the muscles. It also improves circulation, making the body more efficient in removing the excess carbon dioxide that the body produces when exercising.
When you exercise regularly, the body will start to adapt to meet the demands being placed on it. The muscles will learn to use oxygen more efficiently and produce less carbon dioxide. Although exercising may be more difficult for people that suffer from chronic lung conditions, these people can still benefit from regular exercise. It is recommended, however, to consult a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise regimen if you have a lung condition of any kind.
Step 7: Focus on Nutrition and Hydration
As mentioned earlier, the body has an innate capacity to heal itself when provided with the proper nutrients. Eating a healthy diet helps all of your organs function more efficiently, including your lungs. There are also certain foods that can help to remove toxins from the lungs and help the lungs function better.
For example, inflammation of the airways can make breathing difficult and cause the chest to feel heavy and congested. Eating anti-inflammatory foods can reduce inflammation to relieve these symptoms.
Foods that help fight inflammation include:
- leafy greens
Antioxidants can also help reduce inflammation and eliminate harmful free radicals and may help reduce inflammation in the lungs. These compounds may even protect lung tissue from the harmful effects of smoke inhalation.
Antioxidants can be found in many fruits and vegetables, especially blue and purple fruits as they contain antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins. Green tea is another rich source of antioxidants. A recent study involving more than 1,000 adults in Korea reported that people who drank at least 2 cups of green tea per day had better lung function than those who drank none.
Aside from eating nutritious foods, hydration is an important way to stay healthy and to keep the lungs in good health. Water also helps to clean the lungs because it makes it easier to cough up mucus in the lungs.
When you get enough water over the course of the day, the mucosal lining of your lungs stays thin, which helps your lungs do their job better. Staying well hydrated is especially important if you have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) because it makes it easier to cough up the mucus in your lungs that can cause discomfort and breathing problems.
Step 8: Detox the Lungs with Herbal Ingredients
One of the best ways to clean the lungs is by using herbal ingredients that specifically work on the respiratory system. Using herbs can be a powerful way to improve our health, and many herbs have a wide range of uses. Some herbs have been well-researched for their ability to work on respiratory health, remove toxins from the lungs, and improve lung function.
There is a certain classification of herbs called expectorants that help the body to remove excess mucous from the lungs. The word is also often used to mean a remedy that is a tonic for the respiratory system. There are many beneficial expectorant herbs.
Osha root, for example, is incredibly beneficial to respiratory health and can help alleviate various breathing concerns in a number of capacities. Osha root helps clear mucus from the sinuses and lungs by increasing expectoration, which relieves congestion and makes breathing easier. It also increases blood circulation to the lungs, which increases dilation during constriction. For this reason, it is of particular interest as a support mechanism for certain lung conditions, asthma, and allergies.
Mullein has also been used for many respiratory conditions and has been shown to be especially effective at relieving asthma, which causes your airway to swell and results in symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Peppermint herb contains menthol which improves the perception of airflow in your nasal cavity and may help you feel as though your breathing is easier. Peppermint also contains rosmarinic acid, a plant compound found in rosemary and plants in the mint family. Rosmarinic acid is linked to reduced symptoms of allergic reactions, such as runny nose, itchy eyes and asthma.
Plantain herb also has a long history of use for treating respiratory ailments as it reduces mucus secretion in the airways, which makes it helpful in treating colds, catarrh, sinusitis, lung and bronchial allergic conditions such as hay fever and asthma.
We at Zuma Nutrition have created a Lung Detox & Support Tonic that includes a blend of these 5 herbs and may support the cleansing of the lungs by supporting the elimination of toxic build up in the respiratory tract, and also helps to thin mucus, relax the airways and muscles of the respiratory tract and promotes free breathing.
The combination of herbs in our Lung Detox & Support formula may also help increase circulation in the lungs, making it easier to breathe, promoting lung and respiratory health, and clearing congestion.
All of the herbs in this formula are only harvested when they are at their peak level of potency. This ensures that the active ingredients are as strong and effective as possible. Plus they are 100% sustainable and wildcrafted. Which means, no pesticides, preservatives, chemical fillers, or genetically modified ingredients.
The high quality active ingredient extracts in this formula are also completely water soluble, so they’re absorbed immediately in the bloodstream and not in the digestive tract, allowing them to instantly begin flushing out toxins and repairing lung health.
Every day we are exposed to numerous toxins in the air. Toxins from air pollution that enter the lungs can affect the whole body. These toxins eventually become trapped inside mucus. Good respiratory health depends on whether or not the body effectively removes mucus from the lungs and airways. Studies suggest that when we clear the lungs of built up toxins, and support them with key nutrients, we create circumstances in which lung tissue can heal. Taking care of respiratory health is important.
Lung cleansing techniques like the steps listed above help dislodge mucus from the lungs and airways. Avoiding air pollution, improving indoor air quality, getting fresh air regularly, practicing deep breathing exercises, having good posture, exercising regularly, focusing on nutrition and hydration, and taking herbal lung detox supplements are all great ways to clean the lungs naturally and improve overall respiratory health.