It is extremely important to maintain good respiratory health - now more than ever. Asthma has been on the rise for decades; it’s the most widespread chronic disease in the world with over 330 million affected.
Environmental irritants such as wildfire smoke make breathing difficult and painful. And of course there is the COVID-19 pandemic. Scientists and survivors of COVID-19 report that the virus attacks the lungs, causing inflammation and making it difficult to breathe.
Thankfully, there are some easy, natural ways you can increase your respiratory health right at home.
1. Take deep breaths. Deep breathing relieves stress and naturally detoxifies your body. Fully oxygenated blood also helps you carry and absorb nutrients. Try counting as you breathe in and out. Count in for five seconds, filling your chest and abdomen with as much air as you can, hold the breath for three seconds, and then exhale for five seconds or longer.
2. Stay active. Exercise increases the blood flow to your lungs, allowing the lungs to deliver more oxygen to the blood, thus improving your lung capacity. Exercise also increases the vascularization of the lungs, thereby allowing more blood to flow in and out. This creates a greater surface area for the blood to bind with hemoglobin, which enhances the uptake of oxygen.
3. Eat fresh fruits and veggies. Some natural ways to increase hemoglobin are by watching your diet. Eat iron-rich foods, like dark, green leafy vegetables and dried fruit; increase Vitamin C intake; and increase folic acid intake.
4. Maintain good posture. Slouching puts tension in your shoulders and compresses your lungs, making it harder to breathe and harder for your body to take in air and release toxins.
5. Stay hydrated. Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to flush out toxins and cleanse the lungs in a natural way.
6. Laugh. Even in this stressful time, seek out things that make you chuckle. A good laugh not only boosts mental health, it physically relaxes your body, which decreases stress hormones and increases immune cell production. Laughter also increases blood flow, which can help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
By Dipuo Mankheli and Katy Savage