The nip in the air is bringing the excitement of the new season and the string of festivals that come along with it. As we approach our favourite festival of lights, we also inch closer to the season of rising pollution levels in India. The air quality often takes a hit during this time, posing a significant threat to respiratory health. But it’s crucial to protect our precious lungs. To help you breathe easier, we’ve gathered essential diet tips, dos, and don’ts to care for your lungs during this challenging period and enjoy the festivities to the fullest.
Also Read: Air Pollution: 7 Green Herbs And Vegetables You Can Include In Your Diet
How does diet affect the lungs?
In the face of rising pollution levels in India, protecting your lungs becomes paramount. Your diet can play a significant role in fortifying your respiratory health. A balanced diet with nutrient-rich foods, particularly those high in antioxidants like vitamins C and E, helps combat oxidative stress, reducing the risk of lung diseases.
How can we keep our lungs healthy in pollution?
Our lungs need all the protection we can give them. It starts with keeping our environment clean, avoiding highly polluted areas, and consuming a good diet. Here are some dos and don’ts you must start following now to keep your lungs healthy in the coming days.
Also Read: 10 Foods That Can Help You Breathe Better
Here Are 5 Diet Tips To Boost Lung Health:
1. Hydrate with Purpose:
Staying well-hydrated is crucial for maintaining healthy lungs. Drinking enough water helps keep mucus in your airways thin, making it easier to expel toxins. Herbal teas, warm water with honey, and green tea are excellent choices. A study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that green tea may help improve lung function.
2. Load Up on Antioxidants:
Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, can help protect your lungs from oxidative stress caused by pollution. Oranges, berries, spinach, and nuts are excellent sources. According to a study published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, increased antioxidant intake is linked to improved lung function.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce the risk of lung diseases by reducing inflammation. Nutritionist Neha Sahaya recommends fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, flaxseed, and walnuts.
4. Spices for Defense:
Spices like turmeric, carom seeds, and ginger, commonly used in Indian cuisine, are potent anti-inflammatory spices. They can help combat the inflammation that pollutants trigger in your airways. Nutritionist Rupali Datta shares that spices like ginger “breaks down mucus, which makes it easier for us to breathe. Spices also improve blood circulation to the lungs and control inflammation in them.” Nutritionist Neha Sahaya suggests consuming ginger, garlic, and turmeric regularly.
5. Fibre-Rich Foods:
Fibre-rich foods like whole grains, legumes, and lentils can help cleanse your system and aid in toxin removal. A diet high in fibre supports overall health, including lung function. A study by the American Thoracic Society found that a high-fibre diet is associated with better lung function in adults.
Also Read: 7 Vitamin A-Rich Foods For Lung Health; Fight The Effects Of Pollution With Healthy Diet
Is Your Diet Hurting Your Lungs? Here Are 5 Foods You Need to Ditch ASAP
1. Avoid Sugary Beverages:
Dietitian Garima Goyal recommends, “Steer clear of sugary sodas, energy drinks, and excessive fruit juices.” These sugary drinks can lead to inflammation and weight gain, which can further burden your respiratory system. Choose water, herbal teas, or unsweetened beverages instead.
2. Limit Processed Foods:
Processed foods often contain high levels of trans fats, which can cause inflammation in the body. This inflammation can affect your lung health adversely. Stick to fresh, whole foods whenever possible.
3. Reduce Dairy Intake:
Some individuals may be sensitive to dairy, leading to increased mucus production. If you notice that dairy worsens your breathing, consider reducing or eliminating it from your diet. Plant-based milk alternatives like almond or soy milk can be excellent substitutions.
4. Cut Back on Caffeine, Alcohol, And Smoking:
Dietitian Garima Goyal suggests avoiding both caffeine and alcohol. They can dehydrate your body, making it harder to maintain healthy mucus levels. She reveals that “alcohol contains sulfites, which can worsen asthma symptoms.”
5. Watch Your Sodium Intake:
Excessive salt intake can lead to fluid retention and swelling in the body, which can affect your lungs’ ability to function efficiently. Read food labels and be mindful of your sodium intake, especially when dining out.
By following the dos and don’ts we’ve outlined, you can take proactive steps to shield your lungs from the harmful effects of pollution. Remember, you are in charge of your health. Always consult your doctor before adding anything to your diet.