Posted on by Village Green Nutrition Team
You need to have good respiratory health to do everything you want to do and live your best life. Your lung capacity affects how well your lungs are functioning, and over time that capacity starts to decrease. There are many things that can impact lung health, such as lifestyle choices, your environment and other factors. There are always ways to improve your respiratory health, even if it has not always been a priority. This guide will walk you through some important tips to help get you on the path to breathing more easily.
How to Improve Your Respiratory Health
Lung capacity naturally start to decline with age – specifically after our 20s – but there are ways to combat this decrease. Here are several steps you can take to improve your lung health and keep yourself healthy for years to come.
1. Stop smoking.
Approximately 16 million Americans smoke regularly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), despite the dangers that smoking has on respiratory health being known and posted on cigarette cartons for many years. If you are currently smoking, it would benefit you immensely to quit immediately. There are solutions and programs available to assist you with quitting through patches, gum, and other options to slowly break your nicotine habit and restore your lung health.
2. Reduce the toxins in your home.
Unfortunately, many of our homes have toxins lurking in the air. These respiratory health-sapping culprits are often unseen, but will attach to the lungs and reduce their air capacity for you and your loved ones. Some of the most common include pets, mold and/or mildew, insects, and dust mites. Here are some more facts about each:
It is important to clean and dust your home regularly to rid your interior atmosphere of toxins. Pets are easy carriers of mold spores, insects and other offenders. Dogs, cats and other animals are sources of dander and fur, too, which can gather with dust to exacerbate allergens. Animals that spend time outdoors can bring in toxins from outside that get deposited on your floors, soft surfaces like bedding and couches, and more. Give your pets regular baths and brush them outside to keep their coats clear of toxins, plus vacuum your surfaces to catch what makes it past the grooming.
Mold, Mildew and Dust Mites
Mold or mildew is a risk any time standing water or moisture sits too long in an area in your home – especially if it sits unseen in a warm space like a basement or crawlspace. The spores create allergic-like responses in humans, which means those who suffer from asthma or other breathing conditions may find it more challenging to breathe normally. Molds and mildews do not always grow on the surface, either, so if someone in your home has started having trouble breathing recently – and you do not have any major changes in the home – you may want to call a professional for a consultation.
Insects and Roaches
Unfortunately, dust mites, insects, and even cockroaches find their way into our homes from time to time. They also bring in toxins that we breathe in and that can irritate our respiratory systems if inhaled. Take steps toward minimizing insects, like making sure food is stored correctly and garbage is removed.
3. Filter your incoming air.
A good way to condition the air coming into your home is through air filters, ceiling fans and humidifiers. Knowing how each impacts air quality and your overall respiratory health is key to keeping your home safe. Here’s what to keep in mind.
About half of the air in your home comes in through vents. Air filters clean toxins, dust, dirt and other debris from the air before it starts circulating into your home through the HVAC system. Filters should be cleaned or replaced twice a year for effective filtering and to maintain good air quality.
Having ceiling fans keeps the air circulating around your home and prevents it from settling – even if they are on low. This means toxins in the air will keep moving, giving them a better chance of circulating back to the air filter in your HVAC system, to be captured and removed.
Dry air plus toxins is a harsh combination, but adding some water content can be a game changer. Humidifiers keep the moisture levels higher in the rooms where they are housed, which means viruses and other toxins that can irritate your respiratory system are less likely to survive. It is important to clean your humidifier it often, otherwise mold and bacteria can grow.
4. Choose a healthy diet.
One of the best things you can do to keep your body functioning at its best is to maintain a healthy diet. Getting the right nutrients helps you fight infections and boost your immune system, which is important because certain colds and viruses can scar your lungs and cause permanent damage – and can sometimes last so long they lead to infections like pneumonia.
A well-balanced diet will keep your immune system strong and your lungs healthy. Add supplements can help, plus remember to keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of filtered water to give you that extra boost to fight off viruses.
5. Get regular exercise.
Exercise is important for all of us. Taking the time to get some physical activity in your day will not only make you feel better, but will also improve your lung health. Your lung capacity will increase with just a couple 30-minute walks per week. This will increase your heart rate and help get your blood pumping.
6. Embrace nature in your home.
When you decorate your home, make sure to incorporate some oxygen-producing plants to naturally purify the air and improve your respiratory health. Certain potted greens, like spider plants, are very low maintenance and can help remove toxins in your environment, improving air quality. (If you have pets, be sure to choose houseplants that are safe for them!)
Taking the above steps to improve your respiratory health is well worth the effort. Even taking small steps can go a long way toward keeping your body – plus your family and home – as healthy as possible.
Improve Your Respiratory Health Now!
If you have more questions about improving your respiratory health and would like to speak with a wellness expert, contact us at Village Green.
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Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
Margo's impressive knowledge base is the result of a unique blend of educational and professional experience.
Dr. Neal Barnard
Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
Teri is a is a Certified Coach Practitioner with extensive certifications and experience in holistic medicinal practices.
Dr. Rav Ivker
Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
Dr. Rob Brown
Dr. Brown's blended perspective of healthcare includes a deeply rooted passion for wellness and spiritual exploration.