Our lungs are one organ in the body that works almost tirelessly. It is also the most abused organ as well. These days it has become a necessity to take care of our lungs. Smoking, living in a polluted environment, avoiding exercise, and not eating proper food could decrease lung capacity. So, we need to take care of our lungs by following some of the natural ways. In this article, we will talk about some of the natural remedies to improve lung capacity.
8 Natural Remedies To Improve Lung Capacity:
As per a report published in the journal PlosONE, it is mentioned that our lungs are aging faster than our bodies. And the best way to reverse this effect is to pay attention to our diet, exercise regularly, remain in a clean environment, avoid smoking, and also work towards increasing our stamina and lung capacity.(1)
Our Lung capacity is the total amount of air that our lungs can hold. As mentioned above, as we age, i.e. after our mid-20s the lung capacity and function of our lungs slowly reduce. Certain conditions, such as COPD or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can speed up these reductions in the function and capacity of our lungs quite significantly. This results in conditions like difficulty in breathing and also shortness of breath.
However, there are some breathing exercises, some physical exercises, and some other natural remedies to improve the lung capacity, thus making it easier for us to keep our lungs healthy, function well, and get our body the oxygen that it requires. Read below to discover these natural remedies.
Drink Plenty Of Water To Improve Lung Capacity:
One of the most important natural remedies to improve lung capacity is to drink plenty of water and remain hydrated. Water cures a lot of problems related to the body. Drinking enough water daily also improves blood flow, which in turn keeps our lungs hydrated. This helps in improving lung capacity.
Foods That Help In Improving Lung Capacity:
“We are what we eat”. This is a well-known proverb. Our food strongly helps in improving our lung capacity. There are specific foods, which help in improving the capacity and function of our lungs. Check out some of these foods that might work as one of the most effective natural remedies to improve lung capacity.
Garlic And Onion: Though this might sound disgusting, however, having pungent foods, such as garlic or onion helps in reducing cholesterol and fights infections affecting our lungs. Smoking cigarettes reduces the production of endogenous Nitric Oxide or the NO by reducing the Nitric Oxide Synthase or NOS activity, which could be one of the reasons for an increased rate of Pulmonary diseases in smokers. It must be mentioned that Nitric oxide/oxygen blends are used in critical care for promoting capillary as well as pulmonary dilation for treating various pulmonary vascular diseases. Among various supplements, the highest Nitric Oxide Synthase or NOS activation has been proved for garlic with its unique mechanism of action.(2)
Capsicum: Capsicum could also be a great food to improve lung capacity. The spicy compound found in capsicum helps in improving the flow of blood and fighting infections. So, add capsicum to your daily diet.
Nuts And Seeds: You should include more nuts and seeds to your diet. Because they are loaded with magnesium, they are good foods to be added to your diet. Nuts and seeds keep you healthy and also contribute to the healthy functioning of your lungs and improving lung capacity.
Pumpkin and Carrots: Pumpkin is loaded with Vitamin C that lowers your chances of lung diseases. So, you should add this vegetable to your daily diet. Added to this, also add carrots which have similar properties and can help fight diseases and improve the capacity of lungs.
Citrus Fruits: You should eat citrus fruits daily. These fruits are rich in Vitamin C and thus help lungs transfer oxygen well and improve lung function and capacity.
Ginger: Ginger roots have excellent anti-inflammatory properties which help in getting rid of pollutants from our lungs. They can help in improving lung capacity. You can have ginger in raw or can mix them in your food and consume them.
Turmeric Milk: You should have one glass of warm milk mixed with turmeric every night. This helps in fighting infection and also lung diseases. You can also keep cold at bay with this natural remedy.
Swimming Could Improve Lung Capacity:
Swimming is an excellent way to exercise your lungs. Swimming greatly focuses on breathing as you practice deep breathing in small intervals, which is good for your respiratory system. This exercise enhances lung capacity, which even helps in other physical activities, such as running. Exercising in water is generally good for the lungs because it works against the resistance and pressure applied by the water. You can also try underwater yoga for improving lung capacity and function.
Remain Active To Improve Lung Capacity:
You should remain active to improve lung capacity. It is said that a regular moderately intense activity could be great for your lungs, and when you increase your daily physical activity you get healthy lungs, a better mood, and a healthy heart.
So, you should at least aim for 20 minutes of consistent, moderately intense workout regularly, such as a bike ride or a brisk walk.
Cardio Exercises And Interval Training To Improve Lung Capacity:
Exercising is a good way to improve lung capacity and you can try out any exercise. Cardio could be one of the best ways to improve lung capacity. However, if you experience shortness of breath or breathlessness while exercising, then interval training might be a better alternative to steady exercise.
Interval training involves alternating between short periods of extremely strenuous and less strenuous exercise. For example, you can try walking at a very fast pace for 60 seconds and then walk more slowly for 2 minutes.
Similarly, you might perform a strength training activity for 60 seconds, like bicep curls or lunges, and then walk at a gentle pace for 2-3 minutes.
Interval training provides your lungs time to recover before challenging them once more.
Watch Your Posture To Improve Lung Capacity:
You should also watch your posture. Since our lungs are soft structures, they only take up the room that we make for them. You can make more room for your lungs by occasionally sitting tall and reaching overhead.
One of the simplest techniques for offering your lungs more space is slightly leaning back in a stable chair, lifting your chest, and opening the front of your body as you take deep breaths.
Laughing Could Improve Lung Capacity:
Did you know, laughing has so much to offer you? This is a wonderful exercise to work the abdominal muscles and increase lung capacity. Laughing even clears out your lungs by forcing enough stale air out that it allows the entry of fresh air into more areas of your lungs.
So, if you are wondering what might be a reason for you to laugh, then know that there is something called Lungs in you! 😀
Breathing Exercises To Improve Lung Capacity:
Breathing exercises are known to improve lung capacity in a great way. So, if you are looking for some of the natural remedies to improve lung capacity then try breathing exercises that we have listed below.
Deep Breathing: Deep breathing exercises might help in increasing lung capacity. For instance, it is said by the British Lung Foundation that deep breathing can help in clearing mucus from the lungs after pneumonia, and thus allowing more air to circulate.(3) For performing deep breathing exercises deeply breathe for at least 5-10 times, and then cough strongly twice, and repeat the same.
Diaphragmatic Breathing: Diaphragmatic breathing is also known as “belly breathing”. This is the breathing that engages the diaphragm, which is must do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is especially beneficial for patients with COPD, as the diaphragm is not as effective in these patients and could be strengthened. This technique is used best when feeling rested. If you have COPD then you should consult your doctor or respiratory therapist to show you how to perform this diaphragmatic breathing correctly.
As per the COPD Foundation, it is mentioned that to practice diaphragmatic breathing, you should first relax your shoulders and sit back or simply lie down. Then place one hand on the belly and the other hand on the chest. Now, inhale via your nose for 2 seconds, feeling the air move into the abdomen and feeling your stomach move out.
Make it a note that your stomach must move more than your chest does. Breathe out for a couple of seconds via pursed lips while pressing on the abdomen. Repeat the same.(4)
Pursed-Lips Breathing: Pursed-lip breathing is another type of breathing exercise that can slow down your breathing, thus reducing the work of breathing by keeping your airways quite open for a long time. This makes it easier for your lungs to function and improve the exchange of oxygen(O2) and carbon dioxide. (Co2) Pursed-lips breathing exercise is usually easier for beginners than diaphragmatic breathing, and one can do it at home. You can practice this type of breathing exercise at any time.
For performing this exercise, slowly breathe in through your nostrils. Purse your lips, as if you are pouting or about to blow on something. Breathe out gently and slowly as possible through your pursed lips. This breathing out should take at least twice as long as it did to breathe in. Repeat.
Breathing exercises, physical exercises, our diet, and many other factors contribute to the improved lung capacity in us. If you are someone willing to improve the function of their lungs and their lung capacity then you should eat a balanced and healthy diet, eat foods rich in Vitamin C, and other essential foods that are beneficial for the lungs, drink plenty of water, perform physical exercises like swimming, and do breathing exercises regularly. You must also watch your posture, which helps in improving lung capacity.
Apart from all these, you should also avoid smoking and try to stay in a clean environment away from pollution. If you live in a polluted place, you should purify your personal space or use an air purifier. All these help in improving your lung capacity. All these could be some of the best natural remedies to improve lung capacity.
Note: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise, even a breathing exercise; especially if you have underlying health problems like COPD.