Health care provider lists 9 simple and effective ways to boost lung health

Affinity Health lists 9 simple and effective ways to boost lung health. Picture: Supplied

Affinity Health lists 9 simple and effective ways to boost lung health. Picture: Supplied

Published Sep 20, 2023


Durban - Health care provider Affinity Health has listed nine simple and effective ways to boost lung health.

CEO of Affinity Health, Murray Hewlett, said lungs play a pivotal role in our health, yet often do not receive the attention they deserve.

"Your lungs work hard to keep you alive every time you breathe. You probably don’t think about them, especially if breathing is easy. However, if your lungs cannot perform their vital functions, your overall health may suffer," he said.

He added that every cell in your body receives oxygen from your lungs.

“When you breathe in fresh air, oxygen enters your bloodstream. It is carried to your cells by your blood. Each cell exchanges oxygen for a waste gas known as carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is then carried back to your lungs by your bloodstream. When you exhale, it leaves your body. This is an entirely automatic process that you do not need to think about. The cycle repeats itself eight to 16 times per minute.”

You can take several simple steps to improve your lung health:

1. Practise deep-breathing exercises

Deep breathing isn’t just for moments of stress or meditation sessions. Regularly practising deep breathing exercises can expand lung capacity, increase oxygen exchange, and strengthen respiratory muscles. A few minutes each day can bring about significant improvements.

2. Stay active with cardio exercises

Cardiovascular exercises like walking, jogging, or cycling enhance lung capacity. As the heart beats faster, the lungs work harder, training them to be more efficient in oxygen delivery and carbon dioxide removal.

3. Quit smoking and avoid pollutants

Cigarette smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Over time, cigarette smoke destroys lung tissue and may trigger changes that grow into cancer. You reduce the risk of lung diseases and other respiratory conditions by quitting. It’s equally important to avoid second-hand smoke.

4. Follow a balanced diet

Antioxidant-rich foods, such as leafy greens, berries and nuts, combat free radicals that can damage lung tissue. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon and seeds like flaxseed can reduce lung inflammation.

5. Ensure regular check-ups

Routine health screenings can detect potential lung issues early on. Early detection often leads to better outcomes and more accessible treatments. It’s vital to consult health-care providers if you notice changes in your breathing or persistent coughs.

6. Stay hydrated

Drinking adequate water keeps the mucosal linings in the lungs thin, which helps improve lung function and improves the ability to keep out unwanted intruders like dust and infections.

7. Practise good hygiene

Frequent hand washing, especially during cold and flu season, can prevent harmful viruses and bacteria from entering the lungs. Simple habits like covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing can prevent the spread of germs.

8. Minimise exposure to indoor air pollutants

Ensure good home ventilation, use natural cleaning products, and minimise aerosol sprays. Consider adding indoor plants like spider plants, which can absorb and break down pollutants, improving indoor air quality.

9. Educate yourself on lung health

Knowledge is empowerment. Stay informed about the latest research, recommendations and advancements related to lung health. This proactive approach ensures you always make the best decisions for your respiratory well-being.