While most people with lung problems are often told what not to eat or drink due to allergic reactions, there are actually several types of foods and drink that can be beneficial for your lung health. By consuming these foods, you can improve the proper functioning of your lungs and in turn reduce problematic symptoms like coughing. Doing so combined with proper life style changes can increase your quality of life and perhaps even lessen your need of taking prescription drugs. Following is a list of the best foods to improve lung health and help prevent coughing.
This brightly colored vegetable root is surprisingly very helpful in promoting lung health. Beets are rich in nitrates, a nutrient which has been shown to benefit lung function. Nitrates help relax blood vessels, reduce blood pressure, and even optimize oxygen uptake (the amount of oxygen that your lungs transfer into your blood stream). Beets have proved helpful for people with COPD and pulmonary hypertension. Last but not least, beets contain magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and carotenoid antioxidants — all of which are essential to proper lung health.
An apple a day may also keep the coughing away. Apples have a high concentration of antioxidants, including flavonoids and vitamin C. This has been linked to a lower risk of asthma and lung cancer. Research has shown that eating five or more apples per week (the “apple a day”) is associated with greater lung function and a reduced risk of developing COPD.
This famous orange colored spice contains a large percentage of curcumin, which may be especially beneficial for supporting healthy lung function. A study of over 2,000 people showed a link between consumption of turmeric and healthy lung function. This even proved true for people who were currently smokers. In addition, turmeric is often used to promote overall health due to its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
This very popular food is one of the richest dietary sources of lycopene – a carotenoid antioxidant that has been linked with improved lung health. Specifically, eating tomato products has been shown to reduce airway inflammation in people with asthma and even improve lung function in people with COPD. Also, a study specifically of asthma sufferers showed that a regular consumption of tomatoes resulted in more controllable asthma.
These beans contain compounds called isoflavones. It has been shown that diets rich in isoflavones are associated with a reduced risk of numerous diseases, including COPD. A study showed that people with diagnosed COPD had much lower intakes of dietary isoflavones, compared to healthy control groups. It was also shown that isoflavone consumption was significantly associated with better lung function and reduced shortness of breath.
This oil has been widely touted for its many health benefits and is considered by many to be the healthiest oil overall to consume. A reason for this is that olive oil is a concentrated source of anti-inflammatory antioxidants, including polyphenols and vitamin E. As far as lung health goes, one study found that those who had high olive oil consumption had a reduced risk of asthma and another study showed possible improvement of COPD.
Contrary to popular belief, that cup of joe can be beneficial for your health, including your breathing. 15 studies found that long-term coffee intake was associated with positive effects on lung function and specifically a reduced risk of asthma. A reason for this can be that caffeine acts as a vasodilator, which helps open blood vessels, which in turn may help reduce symptoms in people with asthma.
OK chocolate lovers – here you go. Dark chocolate (the kind with a high cocoa content) is high in flavonoid antioxidants and contains a compound called theobromine, which helps relax the airways in the lungs and thus improve breathing function. Specifically, consumption of cocoa intake has been associated with a lower risk of allergic respiratory symptoms and may help protect against lung cancer.