October 22 is Lung Health Day, and it’s a great reminder to brush up on what’s essential to all of us: Breathing. While breathing is an automatic function of the body, there are a few relevant factors that can impact you and the amount of oxygen that you are getting into your body:
- Colder weather setting in means the air quality outside will change
- Cooler weather changes + the impending cold & flu season = illness accompanied by possible shallow breathing
- Weather change equates more time spent doing indoor activities, which can lead to possible exposure to more toxins
Never fear – it’s an opportunity to cover a few pointers of how you can adjust to the changes in the quest to being your best self.
7 Lung Health Tips
In addition to not smoking, the best ways to keep your lungs healthy are to:
Purify the Air
Poor indoor air quality can have serious consequences on your lungs. There are a few simple, effective ways to help improve the air in your environment.
1. Use a dehumidifier. If mold is a problem, a dehumidifier can help stop the spread of this water-loving allergen. If a room smells musty or has condensation forming on glass surfaces, it’s a good candidate for dehumidification.
2. Have your building’s air filtration and ventilation system cleaned. Many energy-efficient buildings are sealed off from the outside environment. Because the ventilation system is one of the few outlets to the environment, it’s important to keep the system clean – allow the building to “breathe.”
3. Invite some air-cleaning plants into your living area. Several plants are particularly good at removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the environment. Exposure to VOCs can cause a number of respiratory issues, like asthma attacks, watery eyes and nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, and bronchial irritation. Some hardy, easy-to find options are:
- Red dracaena. This leafy plant adds a pop of color to the scene while removing xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air. These chemicals are found in in paints, varnishes, and gasoline, making red dracaena a good choice for project areas and rooms near garages.
- Peace lilies. The go-to plant for sick building syndrome. Needing only weekly watering, these flowers bloom even in fluorescent light, and most importantly can help remove 3 of the most common VOCs—formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene—as well as toluene and xylene.
- Snake plant. One of the best for filtering formaldehyde, which is an ingredient in many common cleaning products, household paper goods, personal care products, and treated fabrics. A good choice for bathrooms and dressing areas, snake plants thrive in low light. And they even stand up against the least talented gardener—overwatering is just about the only way to knock out this plant.
Maintain Lung Function
The exchange of air within the lungs depends on both having clear, uncongested passageways, and having strong, flexible muscles to support maximum inhalation and exhalation.
4. Herb it up: There are several herbs that benefit the lungs. Holy basil, also known as tulsi, is one of the most powerful. When ingested, its blend of minerals, nutrients, and phytochemicals can have a powerful effect on respiratory function. Its herby, earthy aroma can also help open congested lungs. Put tulsi oil in a diffuser to support your respiratory system, and purify the air as well.
5. Work on your fitness: Aerobic exercise can obviously improve lung function, but so can strengthening and stretching. Holding deep stretches that release the intercostal muscles, or that loosen the pectorals and shoulder girdle can help improve breathing. Exercises that test your deep abdominal core strength can also help you take deeper, fuller breaths.
6. Keep your immunity up: Avoiding colds and flus can help keep the lungs from becoming congested. Vitamin D’s immune-protective effects are thought to reduce the risk of viral and fungal respiratory tract, and may play a role in the treatment of asthma
7. Supplement: If you’ve already developed a respiratory illness, try supplementing with N-acetylcysteine. N-acetylcysteine, also known as NAC, has shown promise for acute lung conditions, including bronchitis and the flu. NAC is a stable form of the non-essential amino acid L-cysteine, which is used in the formation of glutathione, a critical antioxidant. Don’t forget that WellnessFX now offers members direct access to purchasing Thorne supplements. You can explore more here.
Throughout the month, keep thinking of ways to improve your body’s oxygen supply; Experiment and see what works. O2 is the key to better energy, stamina, and mental clarity.
How WellnessFX can help
Talk to an expert about your lungs and other health issues. If you schedule a consult to work with a WellnessFX practitioner, you can do it on your schedule, when it’s convenient to you. You’ll also receive a tailored recommendation based on your individual biomarkers, you’ll have an audio recording of your phone session, and all of your written recommendations will be accessible and trackable in your WellnessFX.com profile or via mobile.
The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.