Lungs and respiratory system | best foods for lung health
This RESPIRATORY SYSTEM graphic depicts how you breathe.
Breathing is the process through which oxygen from the air enters your lungs and travels through your body. Our lungs take oxygen and provide it to the tissues and organs that allow us to walk, talk, and move via our circulation.
When we breathe out, our lungs also absorb carbon dioxide from our blood and expel it into the atmosphere.
The SINUSES are hollow areas in your skull’s bones. They are connected to the nasal cavity through small apertures. The sinuses assist to regulate the temperature and humidity of the air you breathe in, as well as to lighten the bone structure of your skull and give your voice tone.
Outside air enters your respiratory system through the NASAL CAVITY (nose). The hairs on the interior of the wall are part of the air-cleaning system.
Air can also enter your ORAL CAVITY (mouth), especially if you have a tendency of breathing via your mouth or if your nasal passages are momentarily obstructed.
The ADENOIDS are enlarged lymph tissues located at the apex of the neck. When your adenoids obstruct your breathing, they may be removed. The lymph system, which is made up of nodes (cell knots) and connected veins, transports fluid throughout the body. This system aids your body’s resistance to illness by filtering foreign materials, including bacteria, and generating cells (lymphocytes) to fight infection.
The TONSILS are lymph nodes located in the pharyngeal wall. Tonsils are not a significant element of the body’s germ-fighting mechanism. They are occasionally removed if they get diseased.
The PHARYNX(throat) receives incoming air from the nose and directs it downward to the trachea (windpipe).
The EPIGLOTTIS is a tissue flap that protects the tracheal opening. When something that should go into the esophagus and stomach is ingested, it shuts.
Your vocal cords are housed in the LARYNX (voice box). When moving air is inhaled and exhaled, it produces voice sounds.
The ESOPHAGUS is the tube that connects your mouth and neck to your stomach.
The TRACHEA (windpipe) is the tube that connects your pharynx to your lungs.
The RIBS are the bones that support and protect your chest cavity. They move a tiny amount and aid in the expansion and contraction of the lungs.
The trachea is split into two major BRONCHI (tubes), one for each lung. Bronchi are further subdivided into bronchioles.
The RIGHT LUNG is made up of three LOBES, or divisions.
The PLEURA are the two membranes that surround and divide each lobe of your lungs from your chest wall.
The DIAPHRAGM is a muscular barrier that divides your chest cavity from your abdominal cavity. It generates suction to pull in air and expand the lungs by going lower.
The BRONCHIOLES are the tiniest sections of the bronchi, at the end of which lie the alveoli (plural of alveolus).
ALVEOLI are very little air sacs that are the final destination of the air you breathe in. The CAPILLARIES are blood veins embedded in the alveolar walls. Blood flows through the capillaries, being carried there by the PULMONARY ARTERY and removed by the PULMONARY VEIN. While in the capillaries, the blood transports carbon dioxide into the alveoli and absorbs oxygen from the surrounding air.
What Is the Process of Breathing?
When you inhale air via your nose or mouth, you begin to breathe. It passes down your neck and into your windpipe, which is split into air passageways known as bronchial tubes.
These airways must be open for your lungs to function properly. They should be devoid of inflammation, edema, and excessive mucous.
The bronchial tubes split into smaller air passageways called bronchioles as they move through your lungs. The bronchioles terminate in small balloon-like air sacs known as alveoli. There are approximately 600 million alveoli in your body.
The alveoli are surrounded by a network of capillaries, which are tiny blood vessels. Here, oxygen from breathed air enters your bloodstream.
Blood travels to your heart after it has absorbed oxygen.
Your heart then circulates it throughout your body, delivering it to the cells of your tissues and organs.
When your cells consume oxygen, they produce carbon dioxide, which enters your bloodstream. The carbon dioxide is then carried back to your lungs by your blood, where it is expelled from your body when you exhale.
Inhaling and exhaling
Inhalation and exhalation are the processes through which your body takes in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. The diaphragm, a big dome-shaped muscle beneath your lungs, aids in the process.
When you breathe in, your diaphragm pushes downward, producing a vacuum and allowing air to flow into your lungs.
When you exhale, your diaphragm relaxes upward, pressing on your lungs and enabling them to collapse.
How Does the Respiratory System Remove Pollutants from the Air?
Your respiratory system has mechanisms in place to prevent hazardous substances in the air from entering your lungs.
Large particles are filtered out by the hairs of your nose. Tiny hairs called cilia move in a sweeping manner along your air passageways to keep them clean.
However, if you breathe in hazardous substances, such as cigarette smoke, the cilia may cease functioning. This might result in health issues such as bronchitis.
Mucus is produced by cells in your trachea and bronchial tubes, which keep air passages moist and keeps dust, bacteria, viruses, and allergy-causing chemicals out of your lungs.
Mucus can pull things up from deeper within your lungs. Then you either cough them up or swallow them.
It is critical to maintaining the health of your lungs in order to feel your best. Common reasons, such as cigarette smoke and environmental contaminants, as well as eating an inflammatory diet, might, nevertheless, have a bad influence on these two important organs.
Furthermore, common diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pulmonary fibrosis can have a substantial impact on lung function.
However, studies have shown that making lifestyle changes, like eating a nutrient-rich diet, can help preserve your lungs and even lessen lung damage and disease symptoms.
Furthermore, several minerals and foods have been identified as being especially good for lung function.
Here are 20 meals that may aid in improving lung function.
Beet greens and beets
The beetroot plant’s vibrantly colored root and leaves contain chemicals that improve lung function.
Nitrates, which have been found to enhance lung function, are abundant in beetroot and beet greens. Nitrates aid in the relaxation of blood vessels, the reduction of blood pressure, and the optimization of oxygen absorption.
Supplementing with beetroot has been proven to enhance physical performance and lung function in patients with lung diseases such as COPD and pulmonary hypertension, a disease that produces high blood pressure in the lungs.
Beet greens are also high in magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and carotenoid antioxidants, all of which help with lung function.
Peppers are high in vitamin C, a water-soluble mineral that works as a strong antioxidant in the body. Those who smoke should take extra care to get adequate vitamin C.
Indeed, due to the negative effects of cigarette smoke on your body’s antioxidant reserves, it is suggested that smokers eat an additional 35 mg of vitamin C every day.
Many studies, however, suggest that smokers may benefit from greater vitamin C dosages and that smokers with high vitamin C consumption have superior lung function than smokers with low vitamin C intake
One medium-sized (119-gram) sweet red pepper provides 169 percent of the daily value for vitamin C.
Apples Studies have indicated that eating apples on a regular basis may assist enhance lung function.
Apple consumption, for example, has been linked to a slower decrease in lung function among ex-smokers. Furthermore, eating five or more apples each week has been related to better lung function and a decreased risk of developing COPD. Apple consumption has also been related to a decreased risk of developing asthma and lung cancer. This might be due to apples’ strong antioxidant content, which includes flavonoids and vitamin C.
Pumpkins’ brilliantly colored flesh includes a range of plant chemicals that promote lung health. They are particularly high in carotenoids, including beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
According to research, having greater carotenoids levels in the blood is related to better lung function in both older and younger people.
People who smoke may benefit greatly from eating more carotenoid-rich foods like pumpkin.
According to research, smokers may have 25% lower amounts of carotenoid antioxidants than nonsmokers, which can be harmful to lung health.
Because of its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is frequently used to enhance general health. Curcumin, turmeric’s primary active ingredient, may be especially useful for lung function.
Curcumin consumption was linked to better lung function in a study of 2,478 individuals. Furthermore, smokers who consumed the most curcumin had considerably better lung function than smokers who consumed the least curcumin.
In fact, as compared to smokers who did not ingest curcumin, high curcumin intake was related to 9.2 percent better lung function.
Tomatoes and tomato derivatives
Tomatoes and tomato derivatives are among the highest dietary sources of lycopene, a carotenoid antioxidant linked to better lung health.
Tomato products have been proven to decrease airway inflammation in asthmatics and enhance lung function in COPD patients.
A 2019 research of 105 asthma patients found that a tomato-rich diet was related to a decreased frequency of poorly managed asthma. Furthermore, tomato consumption is linked to a slower decrease in pulmonary function in ex-smokers.
These are abundant in nutrients, and their consumption has been related to a range of health benefits, including pulmonary function protection and preservation (20).
Blueberries are high in anthocyanins such as Maldivian, cyaniding, peon din, delphinine, and petuning (20).
Anthocyanin is a potent pigment that has been demonstrated to protect lung tissue from oxidative damage.
A research of 839 veterans discovered that blueberry consumption was related to the slowest rate of loss in lung function and that ingesting 2 or more servings of blueberries per week reduced lung function decline by up to 38% compared to little or no blueberry consumption.
This is a beverage with remarkable health benefits. Green tea has a high concentration of catechu epigallocatechin gallant (EGCG). It contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and has been found to prevent tissue fibrosis or scarring.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition that causes gradual scarring of lung tissue, impairing lung function. According to certain studies, EGCG may aid in the treatment of this condition.
A small 2020 research of 20 patients with pulmonary fibrosis discovered that 2 weeks of therapy with EGCG extract decreased fibrosis indicators when compared to a control group.
Red cabbage is a low-cost, high-anthocyanin source. These plant pigments are responsible for the vibrant color of red cabbage. Anthocyanin consumption has been related to a slower decrease in lung function.
Furthermore, cabbage is high in fiber. According to studies, those who consume more fiber have superior lung function than those who ingest less fiber.
Are flavones being chemicals found in edamame beans? Are flavone-rich diets have been linked to a lower risk of a variety of illnesses, including COPD.
A study of 618 Japanese individuals discovered that persons with COPD had significantly lower intakes of dietary is flavones than healthy control groups. Furthermore, is flavone consumption was linked to improved lung function and remission.
Olive oil consumption may help protect against respiratory diseases such as asthma. Olive oil has a high concentration of anti-inflammatory antioxidants, such as polyphenols and vitamin E, which are responsible for its many health advantages.
A research of 871 people, for example, discovered that those who consumed a lot of olive oil had a lower incidence of asthma.
Furthermore, the Mediterranean diet, which is high in olive oil, has been proven to improve lung function in smokers, COPD patients, and asthmatics.
Furthermore, oysters are a good source of B vitamins and zinc, which are especially necessary for smokers.
Smoking depletes some B vitamins, most notably vitamin B12, which is rich in oysters. Furthermore, research suggests that consuming extra zinc may assist smokers to avoid developing COPD.
Yogurt has a high calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium content. According to studies, these nutrients may assist improve lung function and reduce the incidence of COPD.
Higher calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium intakes were related to enhanced lung function indicators in a study of Japanese people, and those with the greatest calcium consumption had a 35% lower risk of COPD.
Nuts from Brazil
Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium you can eat. A single Brazil nut may provide more than 150 percent of the daily requirement for this essential vitamin, however, concentrations vary greatly depending on growth circumstances.
According to research, a high selenium intake may help prevent lung cancer, improve respiratory performance in patients with asthma, and boost antioxidant defenses and immunological function, all of which may assist improve lung health.
Because Brazil nuts are such a rich source of selenium, it is best to limit your consumption to one or two nuts each day.
Your morning cup of coffee may help preserve your lungs in addition to increasing your energy levels. Coffee contains caffeine and antioxidants, both of which may be good for lung function.
According to research, drinking coffee may assist enhance lung function and protect against respiratory illnesses. Caffeine, for example, serves as a vasodilator, which means it helps expand blood vessels, and it may help lessen asthma symptoms in people, at least in the short term (44).
Furthermore, a meta-analysis of 15 research found that long-term coffee consumption was related to improved lung function and a lower incidence of asthma.
Swiss chard is dark leafy green with a high magnesium content. Magnesium helps to reduce inflammation and keeps the bronchioles — the small airways within your lungs — flexible, reducing airway constriction.
A higher magnesium intake has been linked to improved lung function in a number of studies. Furthermore, low magnesium levels have been linked to deterioration.
Furthermore, several studies have linked a higher diet of leafy green vegetables like Swiss chard to a lower risk of lung cancer and COPD.
Barley is a high-fiber, nutrient-dense whole grain. High fiber diets rich in whole grains have been demonstrated to improve lung function and may lower the risk of death from lung-related illnesses. Whole grain antioxidants such as flavonoids and vitamin E help support lung health and protect against cellular damage.
Anchovies are little fish that are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats as well as other elements that promote lung health such as selenium, calcium, and iron.
Eating omega-3-rich fish, such as anchovies, may be especially useful for patients suffering from inflammatory lung illnesses such as COPD. A 2020 study discovered that eating more omega-3 fats was linked to fewer COPD symptoms and better lung function.
Lentils include a variety of minerals that aid in lung function, including magnesium, iron, copper, and potassium. Legumes, such as lentils, are abundant in the Mediterranean diet, which has been linked to improved lung health.
Following a Mediterranean food, a pattern has been demonstrated in studies to protect lung function in smokers. Furthermore, eating lentils high in fiber may help protect against lung cancer and COPD.
Cocoa and cacao products, such as dark chocolate, are high in flavonoid antioxidants and include theobromine, a chemical that helps relax the airways in the lungs.
Consumption of cocoa has been linked to a decreased incidence of allergic respiratory symptoms and may help protect against lung cancer.
Furthermore, 55,000-person research discovered that individuals who consumed more flavonoid-rich foods, including chocolate, had superior lung function than those who ate low-flavonoid diets.
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