11 Ways to Improve Lung Health Naturally
Every day we breathe in harmful chemicals through industrial waste, vehicle exhaust, aerosol sprays, chemical fumes, airborne pesticides, and other pollutants that damage our lungs and affect our overall health. For this reason, our Zuma Nutrition team have created a potent line of Detox Supplements. These particles are so small that they go unnoticed, but the impact they have on our health can be huge. In fact, the World Health Organization stated that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants, and according to the UN, over 7 million people die as a result of polluted air each year.
In a world that is becoming increasingly toxic, the detoxification and protection of our health is more important now than ever, especially for the lungs, as the lungs supply oxygen to the blood and are essential for all physical processes.
In this article, we’ll discuss 11 ways to improve lung health naturally.
1. Practice Deep Breathing
It should come as no surprise that breathing deeper improves the health of our lungs, but exactly why it improves lung health is important to understand. The function of the lungs is to inhale oxygen and to exhale carbon dioxide.
As we inhale, oxygen-rich air flows into our lungs and passes through the walls of the lungs to enter the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, oxygen is then transported to all of the body’s cells. One of the waste products of cellular respiration is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is carried to the lungs by the blood, where diffusion causes it to leave the high concentration of the blood to the lower concentration of the lungs, to then be removed from the body upon exhalation.
So, the action of breathing in brings in oxygen to the blood, and the process of breathing out removes carbon dioxide from the blood, and this process is occurring continuously.
The act of breathing engages the diaphragm, a strong sheet of muscle that divides the chest from the abdomen. As you breathe in, the diaphragm drops downward, pulling your lungs with it and pressing against abdominal organs to make room for your lungs to expand as they fill with air. As you breathe out, the diaphragm presses back upward against your lungs, helping to expel carbon dioxide.
So, why is it important to breathe deeply?
Shallow breathing limits the diaphragm's range of motion. The lowest portion of the lungs — which is where many small blood vessels instrumental in carrying oxygen to cells reside — never gets a full share of oxygenated air. This can make us feel short of breath and anxious.
Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. This can make us feel full of breath and relaxed. By breathing deeply, we expand our lung’s capacity, and improve the functioning of our lungs so they can better perform this necessary process of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide.
When you are physically active, your heart and lungs work harder to supply the additional oxygen your muscles demand. Just like regular exercise makes your muscles stronger, it also makes your lungs and heart stronger. As your physical fitness improves, your body becomes more efficient at getting oxygen into the bloodstream and transporting it to the working muscles. That's one of the reasons that you are less likely to become short of breath during exercise over time. Some types of exercise can also strengthen the muscles of the neck and chest, including the diaphragm and muscles between the ribs that work together to power inhaling and exhaling.
Both aerobic activities and muscle-strengthening activities can benefit your lungs. Aerobic activities like walking, running or jumping rope give your heart and lungs the kind of workout they need to function efficiently. Muscle-strengthening activities like weight-lifting or Pilates build core strength, improving your posture, and toning your breathing muscles. Breathing exercises in particular can strengthen your diaphragm and train your body to breathe more deeply and more effectively.
3. Stop Smoking
Smoking is one of the most lung-damaging activities we can perform. Smoking destroys the tiny air sacs, or alveoli, in the lungs that allow oxygen exchange. When someone smokes, they are damaging some of those air sacs. Alveoli don’t grow back, so when they are destroyed, part of the lungs have been permanently destroyed. When enough alveoli are destroyed, the disease emphysema develops. Emphysema causes severe shortness of breath and can even lead to death.
Our airways are lined with tiny brush like hairs, called cilia. The cilia sweep out mucus and dirt so our lungs stay clear. Smoking temporarily paralyzes and even kills cilia. This makes us more at risk for infection. Smokers get more colds and respiratory infections than non-smokers.
Smokers' lungs also experience inflammation in the small airways and tissues of the lungs. This can make the chest feel tight or can cause wheezing or shortness of breath. Continued inflammation builds up scar tissue, which leads to physical changes to the lungs and airways that can make breathing hard. Years of lung irritation can cause a chronic cough with mucus.
4. Spend Time Outside
Fresh air helps the airways of the lungs to dilate more fully and improves the cleansing action of the lungs. When we exhale and breathe out through our lungs, we release airborne toxins from the body. It can be difficult to ensure that we get outside regularly, get moving and get some fresh air into our lungs. However, with all of the health benefits that fresh air offers, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough fresh air each day.
5. Improve Indoor Air Quality
For those of us that spend significant amounts of our time indoors, it is worth investing in ways to improve indoor air quality. According to the EPA, Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.
Here are some quick tips to improve indoor air quality:
- Open up the windows and allow fresh air into the space
- Sleep with the window open
- Invest in a high a quality indoor air filter such as a HEPA air filter
- Buy indoor house plants
- Purchase an indoor fountain
- Clean your air vents
- Check your home for mold
6. Osha Root
Osha root is a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries by Native American and Hispanic cultures. This potent herb is used for sore throats, bronchitis, cough, common cold, influenza, swine flu, and pneumonia. It is also used to treat other viral infections including herpes and AIDS/HIV.
Osha root can help alleviate breathing concerns in a number of capacities. Osha root helps clear mucus from the sinuses and lungs by increasing expectoration; this relieves congestion and makes breathing easier. Osha root also increases blood circulation to the lungs, which increases dilation during constriction.
Lungwort, another medicinal herb, has long been used to treat breathing conditions, stomach and intestinal ailments, and kidney and urinary tract problems. It is used in many cough medicines to relieve fluid retention and to treat lung diseases such as tuberculosis.
Lungwort is beneficial for lung health and helps to clear the airways and expels the mucus from the lungs. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that may prevent viral infections.
8. Mullein Leaf
Mullein (pronounced mull-in) is one of the most popular herbal remedies for the respiratory system. Mullein is used for cough, whooping cough, tuberculosis, bronchitis, hoarseness, asthma, pneumonia, earaches, colds, chills, flu, swine flu, fever, allergies, tonsillitis, and sore throat. Animal and human research suggest that mullein works by reducing inflammation in the lungs, thereby helping relax the muscles in the respiratory tract, promoting free and easy breathing.
9. Plantain leaf
Plantain has long been used by herbalists as a useful remedy for cough, wounds, inflamed skin or dermatitis, and insect bites. This herb contains powerful antioxidants that help to eliminate free radicals (such as those we breathe from polluted air) in the body and protect from free radical damage. Plantain has a high mucilage content, which makes it especially useful for treating bronchitis as it soothes, softens and hydrates the respiratory system.
10. Peppermint leaf
Peppermint is a famous herb utilized for its cooling and soothing properties, as well as for its numerous health benefits. It is commonly used for its pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. The menthol in peppermint works well as a decongestant, shrinking swollen membranes in the nose and making it easier to breathe, and also helps loosen mucus that has collected in the lungs.
11. Zuma Lung Detox Tonic
Our Zuma Nutrition Lung Detox Tonic was formulated specifically to detoxify built-up toxins in the lungs, to improve respiratory health, and to promote healthy and natural breathing. We’ve combined the above-mentioned herbs (Osha Root, Lungwort, Mullein, Plantain, Peppermint) into a masterfully crafted tonic that offers therapeutic dosages of these potent lung healing herbs.
This powerful combination of herbs helps to increase circulation in the lungs, making it easier to breathe, promoting lung and respiratory health, and clearing congestion. Together these herbs also help to thin mucous, relax the airways and muscles of the respiratory tract and promote free breathing. As modern humans, we breathe exhaust, industrial chemicals, artificially circulated air, and other pollutants that comprise the health of our lungs. Our Lung Detox formula is a beautiful blend of Mother Nature's finest herbs, created to detoxify and open the lungs and promote easier breathing.
Interestingly, osha root, mullein, plantain, and peppermint have also been clinically studied for their powerful anti-viral qualities, and are known to help eliminate viral infections by suppressing a virus’s ability to replicate, and therefore inhibit its capability to multiply and reproduce.
Lung health has always been an important factor for overall health and well-being, but in our current times, being faced with industrial air pollution and the threat of a virus which compromises our respiratory function, the health of our lungs is more important than ever.
Proper breathing allows your body to fully exchange incoming oxygen with outgoing carbon dioxide, which increases vitality, improves circulation, strengthens immune function, enhances all of your body’s systems, and allows your body to function at an optimal level. Give your lungs the support they need and protect your body’s health by following these 11 steps on how to improve lung health naturally.