Optimize Your Lungs by Adding these Food Items to Your Diet

March 21, 2019
Protecting your lungs against chronic diseases requires good nutrition, with adequate intake of omega 3 fatty acids and amino acids.

A diet to cleanse your lungs doesn’t require strict changes. However, it’s essential to improve the quality of the food you consume. Generally speaking, you need balanced meals that contain as many foods and nutrient groups as possible.

You are what you eat. Therefore, nutrition is the foundation of the health of the entire body – and that, of course, includes the respiratory system. Not only is it responsible for strengthening your immune system, but it also protects the tissue of your lungs and promotes its regeneration.

Very few people pay attention to what they eat and continue to consume the “convenient” junk meals advertised on TV. Additionally, a sedentary lifestyle is the reason why cases of lung disease have increased.

But how can we improve our diet?

Foods that Cleanse Your Lungs

By starting a diet to cleanse your lungs, you’ll obtain great benefits if you already have a lung condition or experience difficulty breathing. Keep in mind that it’s not necessary to be sick to start adding quality food to your diet.

In any case, we’ll include recommendations to alleviate the symptoms of respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Keep in mind that this is not a strict diet regime that must be implemented exactly as we describe it. It’s simply a collection of fundamental, eating habits, that can complement a balanced diet, whether there’s a lung disease or not.

Ready to take notes?

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Sources of Omega 3.

Omega 3 fatty acids have a leading role in our diet. They not only protect, but also cleanse our lungs. Mainly known for their ability to improve cardiovascular health, these acids also have positive effects on both the lungs and respiratory system.

This group of good fats decreases the risk of lung cancer and chronic conditions. In addition, they activate the segregation of anti-inflammatory substances to improve lung function if asthma, flu or the common cold are present.

The main sources of omega 3 are:

  • Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, etc.)
  • Black beans
  • Flax seeds
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil. Keep in mind that there are many fake, lower quality blends out there. Select Extra Virgin in a dark bottle. Check for harvest date or use by date: the closer to the present date the better. Note whether the country of origin, region, and estate are listed. “Product of” on the label simply means that the oil is bottled in that country, not necessarily that the olives are grown and pressed there.

Read this article: 9 Foods People With Asthma Should Avoid

Glutamine and Arginine

Pulmonary diseases degrade the quality of amino acids – glutamine, and arginine particularly. Because of this, in order to prevent lung disease, it’s better to increase their absorption through food.

As a preventive measure, add these to your diet as part of the recommended daily amount of protein. However, if a pulmonary disease is already present, then the intake should be higher. The best sources for it are:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy


Simple carbohydrates.

A total of 40 to 45% of the total calories in a diet to replenish the lungs should come from carbohydrates. However, it should be clarified that you should opt for complex carbohydrates, as simple ones will actually worsen inflammation.

It’s always recommended to add abundant sources of antioxidants to your diet because they’re essential to revert the negative action of free radicals. Of course, this is great for your lungs because they’re the most vulnerable organs due to the damage caused by toxins and oxidation.

Overall, the best sources of carbohydrates and antioxidants are legumes, dried fruits, extra virgin olive oil, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

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Moderate Your Sodium Intake

Sodium in moderation to optimize your lungs.

Excessive consumption of sodium is related to several diseases that result in inflammation. For that reason, when making a diet to protect your lungs, salt intake should be minimized. Instead, opt for herbs and spices.

Both table salt and processed foods rich in sodium worsen pulmonary conditions by leading to fluid retention and poor circulation. These overload the lungs, therefore affecting your ability to breathe.

Other Recommendations

In addition to diet changes, it’s good to develop other healthy habits for the optimal functioning of your lungs. The main goal here is to be able to breathe freely and to keep the bronchi well dilatated. Therefore, keep the following in mind:

  • Eat five smaller meals a day (three main meals and two snacks).
  • Limit, or avoid consumption of processed, packaged, canned foods, including drinks, toxic sweeteners, and “energizers.”
  • If hungry between meals, then eat nuts, plain yogurt, fruit, and vegetables.
  • Increase your vitamin C intake by consuming citrus.

Finally, don’t forget to supplement your diet with plenty of water and regular physical activity, as they strengthen your airways and detoxify your lungs.

  • Simopoulos, A. P. (2002). The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0753-3322(02)00253-6
  • Cheng, Z., Buentello, A., & Gatlin, D. M. (2011). Effects of dietary arginine and glutamine on growth performance, immune responses and intestinal structure of red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus. Aquaculture. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquaculture.2011.06.025
  • Wu, G., Bazer, F. W., Davis, T. A., Jaeger, L. A., Johnson, G. A., Kim, S. W., … Yin, Y. L. (2007). Important roles for the arginine family of amino acids in swine nutrition and production. Livestock Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2007.07.003
  • SACN, & Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. (2015). Carbohydrates and Health. Carbohydrates and Health Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2011.12.002