Authored by Carly Hart in Health
Published on 11-22-2009
Focusing on nutrition can help those who suffer from illnesses or conditions lead a better life. For those who suffer from illnesses such as asthma or COPD, there are specific foods that can help with lung function. With so many food choices out there, what are some of the best foods for healthy lungs?
Apples are one of the best foods for healthy lungs. The old adage of “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” has some merit, according to a study performed by the National Heart and Lung Institute in England. In that study, it was found children that drank apple juice daily suffered less with wheezing than those children that drank apple juice only once per month. This study did not find that eating apples provided the same benefit, a finding supported by research in adults. Bottom line: Adults wishing to focus on lung health may wish to add apples to their daily diet and children suffering from lung issues could benefit from drinking apple juice on a daily basis.
COPD patients could benefit from a diet that includes broccoli. One recent study found that smokers who had lower concentrations of NRF2-dependent antioxidants had more severe cases of COPD. This green vegetable is one of the best foods for healthy lungs because of its ability to help prevent the degradation of NRF2. Since NRF2-dependent antioxidants are vital to a lung’s ability to ward off inflammation, choosing to eat foods that support the body’s anti-inflammatory efforts should be considered when planning meals if an individual suffers from a lung ailment where inflammation is a concern. The study points to broccoli in particular as one of the best foods for lung health, particularly for COPD patients.
Teens who eat a lot of junk foods are not choosing the best foods for lung health. Medicinenet.com reports that teens whose diets are lacking in essential vitamins C, E and omega-3 fatty acids had diminished pulmonary function. Teens should opt for vitamin-rich snacks such as fresh fruits and vegetables and eschew processed foods such as potato chips and other bagged snacks. Their diet should also include lean cuts of meat, fish and poultry. Fish, in particular, has omega 3s, which can help reduce lung inflammation. This makes it one of the best foods for lung health for teens as well as adults.
Choosing water over other beverages can also enhance lung health. Lungs are naturally moist, so with each exhalation, our bodies lose some water. Staying well-hydrated supports lung function as well as other body systems. Drinking the recommended 6-8 glasses of water should keep the body adequately hydrated and keep lung tissue as moist as it needs to be to work optimally.
Eating the right foods can make a difference for individuals suffering from lung ailments. While it is generally best to eat a well balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, there may be some food choices that support lung health more than others. Including apples, broccoli and fish in one’s diet ensures that some of the best foods for healthy lungs are consumed on a regular basis.