Our lungs are an integral part of our respiratory system. Oxygen which is essential for our survival is carried by the lungs to the rest of the body. For this very reason, it is important to take care of our lungs for healthy, long sustenance. As we age, just as the rest of our organs, our lungs also perform less efficiently so taking care of our lungs at the early stages of our life is of utmost importance. Many a time we tend to overlook the internal aspects of our body assuming they will forever function perfectly well and by the time an illness sets in it is too late to make changes. The phase in life that we are going through currently especially with the pandemic scenario hovering over our mental well-being and physical health, prioritizing lung health holds supreme importance. Let us take a look at how best we can care for our lungs during the COVID 19 pandemic times to ensure our body’s natural defense mechanism performs at its best at all times.
Importance Of Healthy Lungs
Breathing is such a natural process that we often take this blessing of our lives for granted. Ask an asthma patient how essential to be able to breathe freely is and they would be able to let you know of how crucial it is for survival. Apart from supplying oxygen to the rest of your body, our lungs perform certain other essential functions as mentioned below:
- Our lungs aid in filtering blood clots.
- They help to remove air bubbles whenever they are formed.
- Immunoglobulin A secreted by the lung membranes help to fight infections of the lungs.
- Whenever the body becomes acidic owing to carbon dioxide built-up, our lungs spring into action and get rid of it.
- During certain collisions, the lungs become protective pillars to the heart.
- Dust and bacteria that line the respiratory passage are gotten rid of either by coughing or swallowing and the lungs assist in this process.
So there is no doubt that the health of our lungs should be prioritized at all times regardless of our age. Whether young or old, our lungs should be given the proper care it deserves. Eating a balanced diet, avoiding bad habits like drinking and smoking, getting adequate sleep, exercising on a routine basis, planting trees and plants indoor and outdoor to get rid of pollution and toxins in the air all play an important role in helping maintain our overall health and well-being as well as promotes the health of our lungs.
Common Pollutants that Cause Harm To The Lungs
Various factors can cause harm to our lungs. Let us take a look at some common ones:
- Smoking – As we all know, a major factor that causes lung damage is smoking. Smoking damages the structure of the lungs owing to the continuous inhalation of toxins present in cigarette smoke. Smoking causes lung infection as it inhibits the natural ability of the lungs to clear mucus from the air passage by getting rid of cilia in the lungs, responsible for the same.
- Air Pollution – The air outside is so polluted because of the combustion of vehicle fuels and due to harmful gases that are emitted from factories and the likes that continuously inhaling this polluted air causes major harm to the lungs.
- Daily usage items – some common items which we use within our households like air fresheners, certain types of fumigants, scented candles, perfumes, pesticides, etc contain harmful chemicals which over time get built-up in the indoor air. Continuously inhaling the same can lead to lung damage if the indoor air is not purified often.
- Health Conditions – some illnesses like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, pulmonary vasculitis, emphysema, etc. can cause lung damage.
- Treatments – certain types of treatments can cause harm to the lungs like in the case of radiation therapy for lung and breast cancer.
- Idiopathic Causes – this set of diseases refers to the kind that does not have a particular reason as to why people contract the disease. Certain lung diseases are also considered idiopathic.
How To Boost Lung Health During Pandemic Times
The COVID 19 pandemic has restricted our daily functions to such a great extent that confining ourselves indoors is doing more harm than good, particularly to our lungs. For the better health of our lungs regular exercising and getting ample fresh air holds high priority however under the current scenario both unfortunately seem reduced. Let us jot down certain measures that can be taken to maintain healthy lungs during pandemic times.
- Make sure to consume daily a balanced diet rich in proteins and antioxidants which promotes better respiratory health.
- Ensure flu vaccines have been taken on time especially those with allergies.
- Keep yourself properly hydrated at all times as it is important for the better health of all organs in the body including the lungs.
- Wear a mask compulsorily while going out as it is the primary and most essential requirement during pandemic times. Maintain proper hygiene as well while disposing off the mask.
- Avoid smoking, vaping, hookah and the likes as an obligatory act to maintain good lung health.
- Exercising is a must for better health of the lungs. So under favorable circumstances, keeping pandemic protocols in place, make sure to exercise regularly at least for a few fixed minutes daily.
- Deep breathing exercises and practicing yoga can generally improve the physical and mental health of a person as well as general well-being so it would be a great choice to start doing the same to promote better lung health.
- Increase the number of indoor plants within the household and office spaces to improve air circulation inside of closed spaces and to inhale clean and fresh air.
- Doing steam inhalation to clear the air passage is good to enhance the health of the lungs.
- Avoid spending time with smokers as passive smoking does more harm than active smoking.
Lung Healthy Food
As mentioned above, certain food consumed promotes better health of our lungs. Along with the daily consumption of a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water throughout the day, one must ensure to include the below-mentioned food items as part of their meals to boost the functioning of the lungs and keep it healthy and strong at all times, especially during COVID 19:
- Fatty fish as the omega 3 fatty acids in them promotes better health of the lungs.
- Apricots are good for the lungs as they contain vitamin A.
- Broccoli is considered best for lung health owing to it being a rich antioxidant.
- Poultry is good for the lungs as they are a rich source of vitamin A.
- Walnuts are good for those with asthma problems as it contains plant-based omega 3 fatty acids which enrich the lungs.
- Apples, citrus fruits, certain fruit juices rich in vitamin E, C and beta-carotene all promote better lung health.
- Berries promote better health of the lungs as they are rich in antioxidants.
A man may have many treasures that he accumulates throughout his life but one that he must hold close to his heart and lungs, in this context, quite literally is good health! Only if we care for our health can we ensure a happy long sustenance. Pandemics may come and go and try to threaten our peace and happiness but as long as we are healthy we can fight any illness that comes our way. So it becomes mandatory upon us to nourish what God has blessed us with by making small but effective life changes and take preventive measures as and when required.