Updated: Jun 5
Supplying the lungs with necessary nutrients will maintain and support their health and function. If times demand, an increase in these nutrients may be required.
2019, 2020 & 2021 has shown us how important the health of our bodies (and especially our lungs) is critically important to our overall wellness. COVID-19 has ravished the world, putting all of humanity on pause.
While this article is about the importance of lung health and immune support as well as overall wellness, it is not about COVID-19 and it’s harmful effects. This is not a cure or treatment for COVID-19.
It is however, a way to promote optimal lung health through Holistic and natural ways.
It has been said that the rainforests are the lungs of our world. Our lungs do an equally important job for our inner ecosystem. They are our rainforest by definition because they filter and purify air to support cellular function. They do this with over 300 million alveoli. Alveoli are remarkable for gas exchange.
In the same manner as fire and flames require oxygen to survive, our cells (including those found in our brain) also need oxygen to make energy for bacteria, so much that just 4 minutes without oxygen to the brain can cause irreversible brain damage. Providing CPR and first aid are critical in accidents that compromise blood flow and oxygen intake.
Simply put, without a functioning pair of lungs we are lifeless.
Oxygen itself also plays a vital role in detoxification after entering our bodies.
During phase 1 of detoxification, an oxygen molecule is attached to a toxin which makes it more unstable, this instability can cause cellular damage including damage to our DNA, that is if the body does not have nutrient resources to allow for stability of this unstable molecule. Hence the great need for an antioxidant rich diet broken into several meals throughout the day.
One such antioxidant is Glutathione. It is one of the body’s most powerful, and second most abundant antioxidant. Every cell is capable of making Glutathione from nutrients obtained through our daily meals. Glutathione’s role in lung health is critical, so much so that our lungs contain a vast amount of glutathione, more than any other organ including our liver.
Sulfur rich foods such as garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables provide raw materials to make Glutathione.
A whole food diet rich in animal proteins and/or fruits and vegetables assist in the making of Glutathione as well.
Glutathione can neutralize reactive oxygen species that cause oxidative stress to cells and subsequent damage to lung tissue. This damage can occur from inhaling smoke, chemicals, or other toxins that affect and compromise healthy lungs, which can cause the lungs to become inflamed and irritated, and may trigger a cascade of potential health concerns.
Our lungs have very important roles that are rarely talked about. One of the functions is to help balance the pH of blood. pH balance in blood is so tightly regulated by our bodies that out of a scale of 0-14, the body maintains levels at 7.34 - 7.35, always. On a pH scale this is fairly neutral, leaning more on the alkaline side.
If acidity increases, calcium is leached from other parts of our bodies to bring the aforementioned number back into balance. The more acidic the blood is, the further the breakdown of our bodies will occur. It is essential to not reduce or affect oxygen intake by covering the face long term. The reason for this is while we expel carbon dioxide as waste via exhalation, if the face is covered there is a greater potential to inhale a portion of the carbon dioxide back into our lungs, thus increasing CO2 levels, eventually altering blood pH and making it more acidic, placing additional demands on our bodies.
The second is blood clotting. A functional role of our lungs is to remove blood clots from the blood (but let's save that for a different article).
Here are a couple of ways to support your lung health:
It is remarkable that something that is so effortless and barely given a thought can sustain life.
Following your breath is an ideal way to begin and end your day. This exercise allows you to place attention on your breath, without changing it. Place all of your attention on your breath as you breathe normally, if your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath. Observe your breath for a few minutes. This is a beginners exercise and in time more advanced options can be practiced.
Aerobic exercises and cardiovascular training are great ways to maintain healthy lungs. You can walk, run, swim, bike, or participate in yoga, Pilates, Tai-Chi, and so many more activities. Start at your own level with a commitment of 5 - 10 minutes daily and work your way up. Performing three times weekly to optimize your health.
Remember to stay well hydrated throughout the day as well as when performing physical activities. Dehydration places a great demand on our lungs performance.