Everyday our lungs are exposed to a myriad of toxins – from air pollution to harmful chemicals, viruses, and cigarette smoke. Thankfully, the lungs are remarkably good at cleaning and repairing themselves. However, regular detoxification is important to ensure optimal lung health and improve breathing. Lung health is generally never sustainably improved through short cuts or quick fixes. While detox remedies such as pills, vitamins, or essential oils advertised by companies seem ideal, unfortunately, these claims are often dangerous and unproven.
In this article, we share some natural tips to effectively cleanse your lungs.
Considered one of the most effective methods to minimise and even aid the healing of lung damage, quitting smoking is the first step to recovering lung health. Smoking causes lung disease by damaging your airways and the small air sacs, also known as alveoli, that are found in your lungs. Common lung diseases as a result of smoking include:
- Emphysema: A chronic lung condition affects the alveoli in the lungs, which decreases the lungs’ surface area and results in the inability of your lungs to exchange oxygen that your body requires for optimal functioning. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, fatigue, sleep, heart problems, weight loss, and depression.
- Chronic bronchitis: This is a long-term inflammation of the large air pathways known as the bronchi. Symptoms include coughing mucus over a long period.
Together, these conditions are known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). While you can’t entirely undo years of damage caused from cigarette smoking, taking measures to stop this harmful habit sooner rather than later will protect your lungs from further damage.
Second-hand smoke also contains chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic and can cause or worsen a wide range of detrimental health effects in children and adults, including lung cancer, respiratory infections, and asthma.
Stay clear of pollution both outdoors and indoors
Monitoring the quality of the air you breathe is certainly important and this includes avoiding second-hand smoke, dust, mould, and chemicals in order to encourage healthy lung functioning. If you live near a factory or industrial area or even a highly polluted area that constantly exposes you to these harmful air pollutants, avoiding such air pollution may not always be easy and feasible. Instead, invest in a household-wide purifier that can be placed in individual rooms and common areas. Purifiers help clean the air you breathe and lessen the negative effects of pollution by filtering out the fine particles.
Aside from purchasing an air purifier, changing and cleaning the vents or filters in your home, such as those in your air conditioning, can prevent poor lung health. As your filter accumulates more dirt, dust, and allergens from the air, its efficiency decreases. Cleaning them regularly ensures that airflow and circulation in the room is free of unwanted airborne particles.
Practise exercises such as percussion and postural drainage
Considered harmless and even necessary for the health of our body in many circumstances, mucus is a fluid-like substance that is naturally produced by body tissues on a daily basis. Phlegm, a type of mucus, is produced by the lungs and respiratory system as a sign of inflammation and irritation, often blocking off the airways.
Percussion is one effective way to remove excess mucus from the lungs, involving a healthcare professional or respiratory therapist that will use a cupped hand to steadily tap the chest wall to shake and dislodge mucus caught in the lungs.
Postural drainage is another technique which includes placing your body in varying positions in the morning to clear the build-up of mucus overnight, or even right before sleeping to prevent coughing through the night. You may choose to be on your side, stomach, or back during this process. The procedure for this specifically involves the steps below:
- Lie on your back with your hips propped up (18-20 inches) on a pillow. Breathe in steadily through your nose and exhale for a longer period via the mouth for 5 minutes. This position is recommended when intending to drain the bottom front parts of your lungs.
- With pillows propped similarly under your hips, lie on your side as you breathe in and out steadily. This position is recommended for those intending to clear congestion at the bottom part of the lungs.
- Position yourself on your stomach over a stack of pillows with your arms by your head. Once again, steadily breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. This position is recommended for those intending to clear the accumulation of mucus from the lower back area of the lungs.
Practising these techniques regularly can help cleanse your lungs, enhance the breathing process, and even treat a variety of chronic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis, as well as temporary infections, such as pneumonia.
Consume lung-friendly drinks
Drinking healthy drinks is an effective way to cleanse the lungs while improving your overall body’s health. Beverages including green tea, carrot juice, and drinks high in potassium (e.g. berries, bananas, dates, apricots, oranges, or tomato drinks, etc.) contain antioxidants which help reduce inflammation in the lungs. These compounds can even protect lung tissue from the harmful effects of smoke inhalation.
Change your diet
The quality of your diet contributes significantly to your lung health. Along with nutrients and vitamins, ensure your diet includes foods that are rich in antioxidants as well as vegetables (e.g. cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc.). Leafy greens that contain high levels of chlorophyll are considered natural detoxifiers as they have the ability to flush out toxins from your body. Also eating anti-inflammatory foods (e.g. walnuts, turmeric, cherries, lentils, beans, etc.) can further be highly beneficial in improving the functioning of your lungs.
Staying active is one of the best things you can do to maintain and enhance healthy breathing. Establishing an exercise routine that includes aerobics helps the air sacs in the lungs to stay open for optimal oxygen exchange.
At Coolaroo Clinic, our team of dedicated doctors are more than ready to address any concerns that you may have about your lungs. From your windpipe, lungs, and overall respiratory system, we provide personalised healthcare tailored to your needs. Get in touch with us for any enquiries and book an appointment today!