Foods to help your lungs stay healthy!

Imagine having to lift heavy loads 24 x 7, while surrounded by thick smoke and toxins. Your lungs are doing exactly that…day in and day out, minute by minute.


These remarkable tireless machines keep you alive by enabling you to breathe in life giving oxygen and helping you breathe out toxic carbon di oxide.


While saying a quick thank you to your lungs, it might also be important to know how to help your lungs stay healthy and happy!


Of course environmental pollutants, heavy metals, smoke and lifestyle make a huge impact on the functioning of your lungs.  However, nutrition is as critical to the overall health as for your lungs to be able to work efficiently.  Lungs are prone to many ills including asthma, respiratory illnesses, viral and bacterial infections, tuberculosis, and cancer and so on.   Foods give you the immunity power to fight these infections better.

Here’s the list of foods that might help your lungs stay healthy!


  1. Water and fluids: Water is the most important nutrient for your lungs.  Staying hydrated helps loosen the thick mucus in the airways and help you cough out any irritants, toxins, microbes and other air pollutants present in the lungs.   Clear, safe drinking water is always the best option and in cold weather, you could warm up the water so that you do not become dehydrated.  In dry regions like the desert, it is even more crucial to pay attention to getting enough water.


  1. Vitamin E rich foods: Green leafy veggies and nuts contain this fat soluble vitamin that cannot get easily destroyed in the usual processes of cooking and storage and unlike the water soluble B complex vitamins; vitamin E is mostly stored in the fat tissues in our body.

The most important discovery with respect to vitamin E is its antioxidant property.  Antioxidants are very much the superstars when it comes to protecting us from illnesses.  These compounds fight and destroy the evil “free radicals” that can damage our cells and lead to serious diseases such as lung cancer.  Recent studies in India have highlighted the fact that lung cancer incidence is on the rise even in non-smokers, which could probably be attributed to the environmental pollution, passive smoking and excessive free radical generation in the body. Free radicals are released as part of the routine digestive processes, pollution, smoking, junk food consumption and so on.   The best known benefit of vitamin E is that it can quench these free radicals before they can do any harm.

As with everything else, natural known sources of nutrients are always safer and are recommended over concentrated supplements that can harm in the long run.


You can get your vitamin E dose from these other every day foods:

Spinach:    One of the most easily available greens, spinach offers about 20 % of the daily requirements of vitamin E in one cup of cooked spinach

Almonds:   These tasty nuts turn out to be an ideal source since it combines both healthy fats and vitamin E in a great combination.   Vitamin E, being fat soluble, is best absorbed in presence of fats and so, 100 grams of almonds provide close to 100 % of the daily needs of the nutrient.

Fish:  Some fish, especially salmon and swordfish are a fair source of Vitamin E, giving about 8 to 10 % of the daily dose in 100 grams portion.

Vegetable Oils:  Wheat germ oil and wheat germ by itself are great sources of vitamin E.  Other oils such as olive oil, sunflower, mustard and canola are significant sources too.


  1. Turmeric: The ubiquitous spice in Indian cuisine, turmeric has been recognized as a powerful antioxidant, thanks to its active ingredient “curcumin”.  Curcumin destroys damage causing cells and any potential lung tumours before they can be formed.   It is best absorbed in the body in the presence of pepper. Curcumin is also a potent antiviral and antibacterial agent and can effectively arrest a viral infection that usually attacks the respiratory system in its tracks.  So an ideal combination would be equal amounts of organic turmeric and pepper (not more than 3 grams per day) mixed with a drop of oil or ghee.  Using turmeric in cooking destroys its antioxidant properties to a large extent.



  1. Vitamin C rich foods: Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits like pineapple, oranges, grapefruits and also in gooseberries, guava and tomatoes.   Vitamin C helps lower the chances of developing lung disease and aid the lungs in transferring oxygen to body cells.  Get your daily dose of vitamin c from fresh, pesticide free fruits that are locally grown.  Else, grow your own little fruit garden for maximum benefits.


Exercise and avoidance of smoking and alcohol is also crucial to overall lung health.  Besides, carbohydrate rich foods like highly polished white rice, breads and bakery products, sugar and sweetened beverages place a huge load on the lungs to get rid of the extra carbon di oxide present in these foods.  Those who suffer from any kind of lung ailment should avoid such simple starches and include fibre rich multigrains and proteins instead.


When it comes to health, natural is always the way to go!  If you have any other health condition, it is advisable to get your doctor’s or dietitian’s advice before using any supplement.  Calorie Care offers meals designed by dietitians and crafted by chefs so you need not compromise on either taste or nutrition!  Log on to today!