Whether you’re talking about asthma, cancer, COPD, or even rare conditions, lung disease is on the rise.
The experts are calling lung disease a “time bomb waiting to explode.”1
But whether you already have trouble with your lungs, or just want to avoid it, here are five natural ingredients to keep them young and healthy.
1. Milk Thistle: You might already know that it has the power to help your liver regenerate its cells. But milk thistle contains silymarin. It’s a compound that flushes toxins out of your liver. It also helps prevent lung cancer from forming and spreading.
Milk thistle also contains silibinin. Like silymarin, it protects you from lung cancer. But even better. These cancer cells spread quickly to other organs in your body. And they can become drug resistant. Silibinin doesn’t only reverse drug resistance in these cells… It causes natural cell death in cancerous lung tumors.2 You can find milk thistle extract pills in health stores and online. Organic milk thistle tea is another option.
2. Fiber: Oddly enough, fiber is critical to your lung health. It may help relieve symptoms of–and even prevent—asthma.
A high-fiber diet changes the makeup of your gut bacteria. The good bacteria feed on fiber. When you keep these bacteria well-fed, they produce short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids reduce inflammation and irritation in the lungs. But don’t add grains to your diet for more fiber. They actually increase the amount of inflammation in your body—including your lungs. Instead, eat more organic artichokes, peas, raspberries, and blackberries.
3. Ginger: It’s full of antioxidant power. But two of these antioxidants in particular protect your lungs against inflammation and damage. Gingerols help clear your lungs by reducing the amount of mucous they produce.3 And 6-shagaol, the compound that gives ginger its flavor, stops bronchial tubes from tightening.4 This keeps airflow open and easy.
Ginger can be pretty intense if you aren’t used to it. Add it to your diet slowly if you don’t eat it on a regular basis. When it comes to ginger, fresh is always better. Cutting up some fresh ginger and adding it to a meal gives you antioxidant power and extra flavor. You can also juice with it or use it to brew your own tea to help soothe your lungs when you have a cough.
4. Broccoli Sprouts: Broccoli sprouts are rich in vitamins A, K, and C. But they also contain sulforaphane. It’s a compound that helps you fight the inflammation that causes asthma. One study found that it helped restore defective white blood cells in the lungs. More white blood cells mean less bacteria and inflammation.5
Broccoli sprouts have about 50 times more sulforaphane than regular broccoli. But you may not be able to find them at your grocery store. If that’s the case, look at your local farmer’s market. Or you could grow them yourself. Try them steamed or throw them raw into a salad. For convenience, you can also find broccoli sprout extract as a supplement online.
5. Bromelain: It’s an enzyme used to reduce inflammation of the sinuses after surgery. But it’s also a natural way to treat pulmonary edema.6 This condition prevents the fluid from draining out of your lungs. The result? Shortness of breath. If left untreated, it can cause deadly infections. One study found that bromelain reduces the amount of inflammatory neutrophils in the lung by up to 85 percent.7
The best way to start getting more bromelain in your diet is by eating fresh pineapple.8 And lots of it. Most of the bromelain in a pineapple is in the stem. Or you can supplement.
Pollution and secondhand smoke aren’t the only things that can irritate your lungs. Inflammation is a major factor in the development of most lung disease. Lowering it will help ensure that your lungs are working at their best. Using these five natural solutions will help keep you free of disease—and breathing a little easier.
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