Quitting will likely prevent it from getting worse, but as of yet, there is no cure for chronic bronchitis. Fortunately though, there are many foods that can help reduce the symptoms, improve lung function and reduce the harmful and damaging effects of those toxic, disease inducing substances.
It’s well known that peppers, particularly red peppers, are amongst the richest sources of vitamin C, which is a water – soluble nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant in your body. Getting enough vitamin C is especially important and beneficial for those who smoke. This is because cigarette smoke significantly depletes your body of its antioxidant stores, among many other damaging effects. Therefore, it’s recommended that smokers aim to consume at least 35 mg of extra vitamin C per day. Consuming just one medium-sized sweet red pepper provides you with approximately 169% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C.
The vibrantly colored roots and greens of the beetroot plant contain various essential compounds that can help optimize lung function, including magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and carotenoid antioxidants. Beetroot and beet greens are rich in nitrates, which have been shown to benefit lung function. They help relax blood vessels, reduce blood pressure, and improve oxygen uptake.
Alternatively, you can take beetroot supplements instead, which have also shown to improve lung performance and function in people with lung conditions, including COPD and pulmonary hypertension, a disease that causes high blood pressure in the lungs.
Research has shown that regularly eating apples may help promote lung function. For example, studies show that apple intake is associated with a slower decline in lung function in ex-smokers. Additionally, consuming five or more apples per week is associated with greater lung function and a reduced risk of developing bronchitis and COPD, which are closely linked. Apple intake has also shown an ability to lower risk of asthma and lung cancer. This may be due to the high concentration of antioxidants in apples, including flavonoids and vitamin C.
Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are loaded with nutrients, and their consumption has long been known to yield a number of health benefits, including protecting lung function and preventing further damage. Blueberries in particular are a rich source of anthocyanins, including malvidin, cyanidin, peonidin, delphinidin, and petunidin. These anthocyanins are powerful pigments that have been shown to protect lung tissue from oxidative damage. A study that consisted of 839 veterans found that blueberry intake showed the slowest rate of decline in lung function, and that consuming 2 or more servings of blueberries per week reduced lung function decline by up to 38%, compared with low or no blueberry intake.
Unsweetened oygurt, especially Greek yogurt, is rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium. According to research, these nutrients may help boost lung function and provide protection against bronchitis and COPD. A study in Japanese adults found that higher intakes of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium were associated with increased lung function markers, and those with the highest calcium intake had a 35% reduced risk of COPD.
Brazil nuts are amongst the richest sources of selenium that you can eat. In fact, on average, just one Brazil nut contains over 150% of the recommended daily intake for this important nutrient. Studies show that a high selenium intake may help protect against lung cancer, improve respiratory function in people with bronchitis or asthma, and enhance antioxidant defenses and immune function, all of which may help improve overall lung health. Also, because Brazil nuts are such a highly concentrated source of selenium, it’s recommended to only eat one or two of these nuts per day.
Apart from boosting your energy levels and tasting mighty good, your daily morning cup of java can also help protect your lungs. Coffee is packed with caffeine, a natural stimulant, and antioxidants, both of which have strongly shown to be beneficial for lung health.
Research indicates that drinking 1 – 3 cups of coffee per day may help improve lung function and protect against all respiratory diseases. For example, caffeine acts as a vasodilator, meaning it helps open blood vessels. Additionally, 15 consecutive studies reported that long-term coffee intake has positive effects on lung function and reduces your risk of an asthma attack, which can often occur due to bronchitis or COPD.
Cocoa products like dark chocolate are high in flavonoid antioxidants and contain a compound called theobromine, which helps relax the airways in the lungs. Cocoa intake has also been associated with a lower risk of allergic respiratory symptoms, and may help protect against lung cancer as well.
Please note: The foods listed above are helpful, but cannot cure bronchitis or provide 100% protection against it.