Foods to Boost Respiratory Health

August 23, 2017

We all know how food can affect our health; today’s article will focus on foods to support the respiratory system

According to the American Lung Association, the average adult takes 15 to 20 breaths a minute, that’s over 20,000 breaths a day. Your respiratory system, which includes the nose, throat, windpipe (trachea) and lungs, brings air into the body when you breathe. In the lungs, the oxygen from each breath is transferred to the bloodstream and sent to all the body’s cells as life-sustaining fuel. Keeping your lungs healthy is essential for optimal health. 

Here are some foods you can shop to promote respiratory and overall health:

Yogurt and kefir both are cultured milk products that provide rich amounts of protein, calcium and probiotics - friendly bacteria that promote digestive wellness. According to research published in the British Medical Journal, probiotics (in a variety of fermented foods) may help prevent respiratory infections. Probiotics may also help reduce the frequency or severity of cold symptoms, as approximately 70 percent of your immune system is in your gut! To get the maximum benefits of probiotics, look for foods with “live active cultures”.

Garlic, has been used for millennia to combat respiratory and other infections, including viral illnesses. It contains a variety of compounds, such as allicin, that show potent antibacterial and anti-viral activity. Studies have shown that garlic promotes overall immune health, is active against specific bacterial infections of the respiratory tract, and that it may bolster the ability of the respiratory tract to defend against viral infection. Garlic adds such great flavor to foods, minimizing the need for salt and creamy dressings.

Seasonal fruits and vegetables supply rich amounts of antioxidants, nutrients that support your immune system ability to protect your body from infections, disease and toxins. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends an antioxidant-rich diet for respiratory health. Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, prevalent in red bell peppers, strawberries, papaya, kiwi, leafy greens, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and more, may alleviate inflammation in your respiratory system. Toss some extra fruit or veggies in with every meal, your health and overall energy will thank you!

Herbal teas, broth, and soups all promote hydration and help your body flush toxins away through urine. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, chicken soup provides a valuable dietary remedy for colds, mucus and sore throats linked with respiratory conditions. Chicken in soup provides amino acids, which enhance lean tissue repair and physical strength. Additional protein-rich soup additions include beans, lentils, fish and turkey breast. Incorporating vegetables into soups provides additional antioxidant benefits.

Fatty fish, such as salmon, albacore tuna, herring, lake trout, flounder, halibut and sardines, are prime sources of omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fats associated with improved heart health and brain function. According to a research review conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Health Services omega-3 fats may improve breathing difficulty and other asthmatic symptoms.

Overall a colorful diet rich in fresh, seasonal produce will promote optimal health - and choosing the foods mentioned above will boost respiratory health.