Foods That May Help You Breathe Better
Kids wheezing? Give them a glass of apple juice. A British study found that children who drank apple juice once a day cut their likelihood of developing a wheezing problem in half compared to kids who drank it less often.
Another study found that women who ate apples regularly during their pregnancy were less likely to have children who suffer from asthma or wheezing. Apples are packed with phenolic acids and flavonoids that are known for reducing inflammation in the air passageways, a common feature of both asthma and wheezing. ‘Asthma has increased in prevalence,’ says Alan Mensch, MD, senior vice president of medical affairs at Plainview and Syosset hospitals in Long Island, New York. ‘Some people speculate it’s because our diets have gone from a healthy diet to a less healthy diet over the past couple of decades.’ Try some apple cider vinegar for additional health boosts.
Olive oil The mono and polyunsaturated fats found in olive oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil are great for more than just your skin, hair, and heart; they also play a role in lung health. In fact, olive oil may help fight the health risks associated with air pollution like increased blood pressure and impaired blood vessels factors that can reduce your oxygen supply, make your heart pump faster and make breathing more difficult. An Environmental Protection Agency study administered fish oil, olive oil, and no oil to three groups of adults; after one month, participants breathed in filtered air and polluted air for several hours. The olive oil trumped all by boosting the blood vessel’s response to pollutant stress and increased levels of tPA, a blood protein that dissolves clots, which can give you shortness of breath.
Coffee a cup of Joe does more than give your brain a jolt—it could also alleviate asthma symptoms. Caffeine may act as a bronchodilator, which opens up those tight airways in asthmatics and reduces respiratory muscle fatigue. A review of several small studies concluded that caffeine could improve your lung functions for up to four hours.
Green tea A hot mug of green tea is loaded with antioxidants that calm the body, decrease inflammation, and promote better healing. But the star of the bunch is quercetin, an antioxidant that acts as a natural antihistamine. This means it slows the release of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals in the body that can cause allergy symptoms. The hot water is also great for soothing your throat and protects your lungs from irritation by flushing out mucous membranes.
Pumpkin, sunflower, and flaxseed provide your body with a bountiful helping of magnesium, a critical mineral for people with asthma. Magnesium helps the muscles in your airways relax and reduces inflammation, so you can breathe nice and easy.
Garlic This potent aromatic also has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces damage caused by free radicals. One study discovered that people who consumed three cloves of raw garlic twice a week were 44 percent less likely to develop lung cancer. Even smokers reduced their risk by 30 percent.
Beans can do it all. What’s good for your heart is often good for your lungs, and beans are the perfect example. Patients with lung disease spent less time on a ventilator after receiving an antioxidant-rich cocktail made of zinc, selenium, and manganese all found in beans, according to a study. Another study showed that zinc increased the levels of an antioxidant called superoxide dismutase, one of the body’s most powerful protectors from free radicals, harmful molecules that can cause inflammation and make it harder to breathe.
Nuts give your body a dose of vitamin E, which helps reduce inflammation, boosts your immune system, and creates red blood cells, which deliver more oxygen to your body. A stable supply of oxygen prevents the blood vessels in your lungs from constricting and helps you breathe better.
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