Although you may not think about it often, there is a strong connection between your heart health and lung health. When your airways are taking in the oxygen you need, it means your heart can do its job of circulating oxygen-rich blood throughout your body where it’s needed to generate energy.
Because lung health is so critical to heart health, I want to share a few important tips that naturally promote clear breathing and healthy lungs.
For Healthy Lungs and Clear Breathing:
- Practice belly breathing, meditation, or biofeedback. Numerous studies have shown that stress reduction techniques such as these that focus on breathing are effective for supporting lung health. That’s because they reduce hyperventilation and over breathing.
- Try Alternate Nostril Breathing as well. Just a few minutes of Alternate Nostril Breathing helps to calm an overstressed autonomic nervous system, in effect balancing the body and the heart's reaction to stress. To get started, take a deep breath in and out through your nose. Then use your right thumb to close your right nostril and inhale slowly through your left nostril to the count of 4. While still holding your right nostril closed with your thumb, close your left nostril with your right ring finger so both nostrils are closed, and hold the breath for a moment. Now open your right nostril and breathe out slowly to the count of 8. Inhale slowly through your right nostril to the count of 4. Hold both nostrils closed again briefly. Then open your left nostril and breathe out slowly to the count of 8. Alternate back and forth for a couple of minutes.
- Use an air purifier. Since there is a strong connection between poor air quality and the health of your heart and lungs, using a high quality HEPA filter air purifier in the bedroom or home can help to support lung health.
- Try supplements. Magnesium plays an important role in supporting lung structure and function and helps to relieve narrowing of the bronchial airways. Yet, many people are deficient in magnesium due to declining levels in our soils. For lung support I recommend 300 to 600 mg of magnesium daily. In addition, the powerful antioxidants quercetin and N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) both support the respiratory tract. I recommend 500 to 1,000 mg of each daily.
- Eat a non-inflammatory diet. Just as avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates reduces inflammation in the heart, it also reduces inflammation in the lungs.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Staying well-hydrated with water and ginger tea helps to promote vasodilation and reduce inflammation. Coffee, in moderation, can also help to open up the airways. But eliminate all sodas and sugary drinks.