Lungs are an integral and important part of the respiratory system. In the lungs the blood cell absorbs oxygen and carries it to the various cells into the body. Oxygen is essential for the cells to perform their metabolic activities and generate energy for performing various functions. The lung also helps in elimination of carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct of metabolism.
Experts suggest that physical strength and health is linked to ‘lung capacity’. Better lung capacity means adequate oxygen, which in turn implies that your metabolic activities and bodily functions are adequate.
However as age advances, the lung capacity starts shrinking. The lungs comprise of alveoli, which are small sacs, where the blood cells exchange the gases (absorb oxygen and expel carbon dioxide). These aveoli start dying or shrinking after the age of thirty years. Eventually an individual’s lung capacity reduces and the bodily activities are reduced proportionally, to compensate for the loss.
Some Foods That Help Improve Lung Function
There are certain foods that can help improve overall capacity of the lungs and prevent them from declining with advancing age,
- Apples: In a research conducted by St George’s Hospital and Medical School, London, dietary patterns of 2500 men was studied.
- Fish: Fish is loaded with Omega 3 Fatty acids which help fight inflammation and therefore tone down the effects of pulmonary diseases and COPDs like asthma. Fish oil also helps in reducing the harmful effects of arachidonic acid, which is known to cause inflammation and tissue damage.
- Red Bell Peppers: These foods are loaded with beta-cryptoxanthin, which have been reported on help reduce the risk of lung cancer by almost 27 percent. Red bell peppers are loaded with Vitamin A which helps prevent obstructive pulmonary disease and respiratory inflammatory disorders.
- Wine: In a study published in BMC pulmonary medicine, it was reported that consumption of white and red wine can improve liver function. This is attributed to antioxidants in the wine, which not only help reverse free radical damage but also improve overall tissue health.
Natural Ways To Increase Lung Capacity
In addition to the foods that we consume, there are certain natural ways to improve lung capacity,
- Regular exercising or a minimum physical activity for 30 minutes each day is essential to maintain optimum lung function. Regular exercising increases body’s demand for oxygen, which in turn makes it imperative for the lungs to have a better capacity.
- Deep breathing exercises namely Pranayama and Anulom Vilom are considered to help improve lung capacity. These exercises are aimed at taking deep breath and holding them for as long as possible, which helps bolster the lung capacity. Practicing these exercises for merely 10 minutes each morning can help improve lung capacity by almost 20%.
- Smoking cessation is essential to improve overall lung capacity. Smoking results in damage to lung tissue cells which in turn reduces lung capacity.