Here's how you can protect your lungs in winter

Respiratory diseases like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD), pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB), lung cancers are emerging as major health problems of the 21st century. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), the deaths due to lung diseases in India were on a sharp rise accounting for 11 per cent of the total deaths.

As per a report published in March 2019, COPD is responsible for nearly a million deaths every year and is the second highest cause of death in India after heart disease. There were 28.1 million cases of COPD in India in 1990 which has increased to 55.3 million in 2016.

In India, lung cancer is the most common type of cancer and cancer related mortality among men. The most alarming part is that respiratory diseases are no longer restricted to the elderly but are now being detected even in younger age groups. Before we understand foods that can help reverse lung diseases, let us understand the basic mechanism behind lung health.

Every day, we breathe in approximately 8,500 litres of outside air into our respiratory tracts. However, with each breath in, we are breathing air that also contains air-borne pollutants, bacteria, chemicals, and allergens, poised to attack our bodies.

Then there are habits like cigarette smoking, stress and poor diet that also creates a tremendous amount of oxidative stress in our respiratory tract and in turn the nasal passageways and lungs are literally under attack. However, we have a sophisticated and elaborate defence system against such attacks on our respiratory system.

From our nose to the tip of our lungs, the cells are known as epithelial cells which are covered with a thick mucus lining. This thick mucus lining contains many antioxidants, providing a layer of protection that is so effective that most of the time the pollutants do not even come in contact with the underlying epithelial cells. All these antioxidants work together to neutralize all the oxidative stress and thus protect the underlying lung tissue and lung function.

The situation becomes worse when we are damaging our epithelial cells and the mucus lining with air pollution, smoking and stress but we are not compensating with a high-quality diet which is super rich in antioxidants. And therefore, over a period, the mucus lining has no antioxidants left to its defence and lung disease aggravates.

Therefore, eating a plant-based diet, that includes lots of fruits and vegetables which can give our body the required antioxidants, is the key for reversal of respiratory diseases. Sharing the list of 6 foods that can help in the healing of lung disease.

Broccoli: Sulforaphane is a compound found in broccoli that helps the immune system to clean the harmful bacteria from our lungs and significantly improves the health of our respiratory tract.

Ginger: Ginger helps to break down cough, making it easier for your body to expel air. It also helps improve circulation to the lungs and reduces inflammation.

Onions: Loaded with flavonoids (antioxidants), which help fight inflammation from asthma by strengthening the capillary walls. They also protect the lining of lungs and bronchial tubes from damage caused by pollution.

Carrots: Carrots contain beta-carotene, which effectively decreases asthma. Your body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient for lung health.

Red capsicum: Red pepper is extremely high in Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that fights free radicals and helps ward off damage to the lungs. Also, red bell peppers contain carotenoids, which can contribute to reducing the risk of developing lung cancer.

Purple cabbage: Regarding as one of the most alkaline foods in the world, Purple cabbage is extremely high in antioxidants which can heal and repair the damage to the respiratory system.

(Karan Kakkad is a Disease Reversal expert based in India. He is the Founder & CEO of Reverse Factor. To know more call 8100550660 or visit: www.reversefactor.in)

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