When is the last time you have evaluated your lung health?
Last month was National Healthy Lung Month, and even though we’re into November, it’s still an important topic to discuss. It seems like every year as the seasons change my breathing can become affected. So what better time to give my lungs their own check-up than with these Top 10 ways to improve your lung health right now.
1) Stop smoking..anything!
This is an obvious one, right? I will never forget holding a healthy lung versus the lung of a life long smoker in anatomy class. The effects of smoking on lungs are severe, and I was surprised that this is not limited to cigarette smoke alone (cigars, marijuana it all gets lumped under smoking).
2) Drink water.
I know that water is good for just about everything, but I had never really thought about it in direct relation to lung health. Water gets rid of all those toxins! Add some ginger and lemon to your water, and you’ll have the perfect concoction for a lung detoxifying tea.
3) Buy (certain) indoor plants.
There are many plants (and herbs) that are proven to clean up the air around them. The Wellness Mama has a GREAT post on Improving Air Quality, with a list of child and pet friendly plants. On that list? Christmas Cactus, bamboo, and ferns. My mom had a Christmas Cactus for years, and it could be quite colorful!
4) Use natural air fresheners.
Many of your store-bought air fresheners can contain chemicals that can affect reproductive development as well as other things (see NRDC post). Luckily, there are plenty of natural ways to make your space smell better. I’ve already had to use several of these since my husband is sensitive to candles and store-bought air fresheners.
My go-to is to put 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in oven at 300 degrees for 60 minutes. If you don’t want to turn your oven on you can also make an easy deodorizer using water, rubbing alcohol (or vodka), and essential oil. Feeling seasonal? Try these Fall room sprays for some festive flair.
Another option? Tea lights surrounded by coffee beans.
Self-explanatory right? The recommended amount is 3o minutes 5 days a week. Even if you have lung problems and are walking, you want your breathing “moderately breathless”. Talk to your doctor before starting any new routine, but you want to build up your endurance. This will help you keep a larger breathing reserve. Oxygen in, toxins out.
6) Look at your house.
If it’s old then you could have some nasty things (like asbestos) hiding everywhere from tiles to walls. Whatever you do, do not try to remove asbestos by yourself! Get a professional. This stuff is dangerous and causes mesothelioma, which is an aggressive cancer that you do not want to get. For more information head here or check out the infographic at the bottom of this post.
Not-so-fun-fact. They used to use asbestos in old movies for snow! Wizard of Oz in those poppy fields, and some scenes from White Christmas are two major ones. Sometimes what you don’t know can literally hurt you!
7) Clean with natural cleaning products.
We started doing this a few years ago. It’s pretty easy to make an all-purpose Vinegar Cleaner that you can scent in different ways.
Did you know? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air can be 10 times to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air. One of the culprits is common household cleaners emitting toxic fumes.
8) Eat leafy greens.
Vegetables are your best friend, and if they’re in the cabbage family even better. That includes one of my favorites, broccoli! I knew they were good for you, but didn’t realize their detoxifying abilities. There are also a few herbs known for their lung benefits.
9) Watch your outdoor air quality.
One of my favorite apps, AirForU, was developed at UCLA and lets you know the air quality around you at any given day. It’s a great way to help manage any respiratory issues (like asthma), as well as help you decide where to take your exercise routine that day.
10) Note Family History.
Pay attention to anyone in your family that may have had or has a respiratory disease. This may help you be more aware of your own symptoms (or that of your kids if you have them). Of course, as always, see your doctor if you experience anything out of the norm!
There is so much to pay attention to when it comes to taking care of our bodies, but don’t forget to give the lungs some love. After all, breathing is life ;-).