These 11 Foods Can Improve Lung Health

To keep the lungs functioning at their best it is important to breathe in the fresh air and eat healthy food. Lungs play a vital role in body functions. There are numerous factors including cigarette smoke, environmental toxin, and inflammatory toxins that take a toll on lung health.

A few conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary fibrosis can affect the quality of life.(1, 2)

Lifestyle modification and following a nutrient-rich diet can help reduce lung damage.

These 11 Foods Can Improve Lung Health

  1. Beets and Beet Greens

    Beet and beetroot greens are rich in nitrates that benefit lung function. Nitrates play a role in relaxing blood vessels, reducing blood pressure, and optimizing oxygen uptake.(3)

    The supplements with beetroot extract are known to improve lung function in people suffering from lung conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary hypertension (a disease in which pulmonary blood pressure increases)(4, 5)

    Beet greens are known to be rich in magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and carotenoid antioxidant, all of which are important for lung health.(6)

  2. Pepper

    Peppers are the richest vitamin C source. Vitamin C is a water-soluble powerful antioxidant, which is important for smokers.

    Cigarette smoke has a damaging effect on the antioxidant stores of the body and an extra 35 mg of vitamin C per day is recommended for people who smoke.(7)

  3. Apples

    Eating apples regularly help in improving lung function. Consuming 5 or more apples a week is associated with greater lung function and reduced risk of developing the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.(8, 9)

    Apple intake also helps in lowering the risk of asthma and lung cancer which is due to the high level of antioxidants in apples including flavonoids and vitamin C.(10)

  4. Pumpkin

    The flesh of pumpkin contains a variety of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that promote lung health. These include beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein.(11) Higher carotenoid levels are associated with better lung function in the older and younger population. Smokers have a 25 % lower concentration of antioxidants and consuming pumpkin can benefit lung health.(12)

  5. Turmeric

    Turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of curcumin compounds. It helps in promoting lung function. A study shows curcumin to be associated with improving lung function in people.(13)

  6. Tomato

    Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene, a carotenoid antioxidant that improves lung health. Consuming products containing tomato help in reducing airway inflammation and improve lung function in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.(9) Tomatoes also play a role in slowing down the decline in lung function.(14)

  7. Blueberries

    Blueberries contain numerous nutrients that have numerous health benefits and play a role in protecting and preserving lung function.(15) They contain anthocyanins that protect the lung tissue from oxidative damage.(16)

    A study done on 839 people found blueberry consumption to be associated with a slower decline in lung function. It also observed that consuming 2 or more servings of blueberries every week slowed down the lung function decline by 38%.(17)

  8. Green Tea

    Green tea contains an epigallocatechin gallate compound that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are known to inhibit fibrosis and scarring of tissues.(18) Pulmonary fibrosis is characterized by a progressive decline in lung function with scarring of lung tissue.

    A study was performed on 20 people with pulmonary fibrosis. It was found, on treatment with epigallocatechin extract for 2 weeks, there was a reduction in markers of fibrosis.(19)

  9. Edamame

    Edamame contains isoflavones. A consuming diet rich in isoflavones is associated with reducing the risk of numerous diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.(20)

    It is found that people with the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have a lower intake of isoflavones and consuming isoflavones-rich compounds is associated with better lung function and reduced shortness of breath.(21)

  10. Olive Oil

    Olive oil is known to protect against respiratory conditions like asthma. It contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that have numerous health benefits.

    A study showed people who had a good olive oil intake had a reduced risk of asthma.(22)

  11. Oysters

    Oysters are loaded with nutrients such as zinc, vitamins, and copper that are essential for lung health. People with higher blood levels of selenium and copper have better lung function compared to those with a lower intake of these nutrients.(8)

    There are many more foods such as yogurt, brazil nuts, coffee, swiss chard, barley and lentils play a role in improving lung quality. Including them in the diet is essential for those conditions associated with lung. Consuming a diet high in nutritious compounds is a smart way to support lung health.

    Try incorporating these foods and improving lung health.