What Is A Lung Detox? And Why You Should Do One
Your lungs are an essential organ in your body for maintaining respiratory health and keeping you alive. Their primary function is to remove carbon dioxide from your body while transporting oxygen to all of your necessary organs. Therefore, detoxing your lungs from time to time is a great idea.
Symptoms such as chronic coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, or mucus production can signal that your lungs are struggling. These symptoms can actually be the earliest signs of lung disease.
The lungs naturally heal and clean themselves if provided with a nutrient-dense diet, water, and clean air. Therefore, if you are attempting a lung detox, you will want to give up smoking and pay close attention to the irritants and toxins you are exposed to—such as air pollution, allergens, and chemicals in your home.
Let’s dive into the specifics of a lung detox and how it can be helpful in protecting your lungs as you age.
What Is A Lung Detox? & How To Perform A Lung Cleanse
A lung detox is a product or program designed to help reverse the effects of lung disease. Lung cleanses can also be used to reduce symptoms of lung damage (such as coughing) and help improve breathing.
People who are most likely to benefit from a lung detox include:
- Smokers who use vapes, cigarettes, or marijuana.
- People who have health conditions that impact and deteriorate the lungs. Such as COPD, allergies, asthma, interstitial lung disease, and cystic fibrosis.
- People who are chronically exposed to air pollution or chemicals that damage the lungs. Such as ammonia, sulfur dioxide, chlorine, phosgene, and nitrogen dioxide.
- People with lung cancer.
While you can certainly try supplements and other products that claim to cleanse the lungs, most don’t actually work. Especially if you are not taking the proper steps to improve your habits and lifestyle. The following steps can improve lung health with almost immediate results.
Eat A Nutrient-Dense And Anti-Inflammatory Diet
The lungs love antioxidant-rich foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals especially vitamin A and vitamin C. Beef up your diet with the following foods to improve your lung health.
- Healthy fats such as avocados and oils
- Nuts and seeds
- Fruits but especially berries, citrus fruits, cherries, and kiwi
- Beans and lentils
- Leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach
- Other vegetables such as green beans, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, and carrots
- Wild-caught fish with omega 3’s such as sardines and salmon
- Ginger, turmeric, and other spices
- Green tea
While adding more nutrient-dense foods can be helpful, try cutting out foods that may cause inflammation. Pay close attention to the addition of processed products such as sugar, trans fats, refined vegetable oil, additives, sweetened beverages, and processed meat. Limiting these in your diet can be beneficial to your lung health in the long run.
Exercise is known to improve respiratory health as well as immune system health which can affect the lungs. Exercise helps boost circulation, increases your breathing rate which helps bring more oxygen to the body, and supports lymphatic drainage and detoxification.
When exercising you are breathing heavier which allows your lungs to expel more carbon dioxide while improving the health of the tissues surrounding the lungs. Adding just 30 minutes of exercise a day 3-5 times a week can greatly improve your respiratory system.
Quit Smoking & Avoid Irritants And Pollutants
While this may not be an easy step, it is the most important. Smoking puts chemicals and toxins directly into the lungs. Cigarettes are still one of the leading causes of death in the United States with about 1 in 5 deaths being linked to them.
If you are a smoker, it can feel impossible to quit. There are several ways to try, from quitting “cold turkey” to gradually weaning yourself off. If you need help stopping, reach out for support by finding a cessation program or even working with a therapist. You are not alone and quitting is possible.
There are a number of harmful pollutants and irritants that can cause serious lung damage if you are over-exposed to them. The following are the top harmful sources:
- Vehicles and equipment used to move goods, people, and fuel
- Electric utilities like natural gas, oil, and burning coal
- Commercial and industrial processes that produce emissions
- Residential sources such as heating and cooling
Take steps to avoid these sources at work and at home by spending less time outside when the air quality is low and keeping your home air clean. You can check the air quality index (AQI) on many weather apps and should do so before spending time outside.
You can avoid pollutants at home by using natural cleaning products, vacuuming often, and ventilating your space with open windows or using air filtration systems.
Utilize Breathing Exercises & Use Steam
Breathing deeply and slowly through the diaphragm moves more oxygen through the body. Incorporate different types of deep breathing exercises daily to reap the benefits. These exercises have the added bonus of reducing symptoms of stress and increasing relaxation.
Steam is great for breaking up mucus in the lungs making it easier to breathe and in turn removing more toxins from the body. Taking hot showers, using humidifiers, and sitting in steam rooms can provide these benefits. While this may not heal your lungs, it can help remove one of the toughest destroyers of lung health: mucus.
While you may not see results of improved lung health overnight, it is always important to think about longevity. If you can protect your lungs and heal any previous damage, you will live a healthier and more pain-free life. You will also significantly reduce your odds of falling victim to lung disease.