There are also large segments of the population who deal with other issues that impair their lung capacity, including chronic asthma, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
And then there are the smokers who willingly choose to damage their own lungs and those of the people who live in close proximity to them.
When all these factors are considered, there is certainly good reason for the majority of us to consider ways to cleanse our lungs and protect our long-term health. (Related: The depressing connection between air pollution and happiness.)
Fortunately, the lungs are self-cleaning organs that will quickly repair themselves once a source of pollution stops, for example when someone stops smoking or moves to an area with cleaner air.
Unfortunately, we are not always able to completely remove ourselves from sources of pollution, and for people with asthma, COPD and other lung diseases, the battle to clear the lungs of mucus and other irritants is a continuous one.
As noted by Medical News Today, there are several natural methods that can be employed to clear the lungs and in doing so, improve overall health.
What you put into your body and what you do with your body, referred to as your lifestyle, impacts your overall health as well as your lung health.
Although it may initially be difficult for someone with impaired lung capacity to start exercising, the benefits can be immense.
Medical News Today reported:
Exercise forces the muscles to work harder, which increases the body's breathing rate, resulting in a greater supply of oxygen to the muscles. It also improves circulation, making the body more efficient in removing the excess carbon dioxide that the body produces when exercising.
The body will start to adapt to meet the demands of regular exercise. The muscles will learn to use oxygen more efficiently and produce less carbon dioxide.
Studies have found that green tea contains several antioxidants which can help reduce inflammation in the lungs. A study conducted by Korean researchers found that participants who drank two or more cups of green tea each day had better lung function than those who drank none.
Since inflammation in the airways creates difficulty breathing, it is essential to reduce inflammation. One of the ways to do this is to eat more anti-inflammatory foods like leafy greens, cherries, blueberries, walnuts, turmeric, beans, olives and lentils.
In addition to lifestyle changes, there are specific lung cleansing techniques that can be adopted to help clear the lungs of mucus and make breathing easier.
Steam therapy, which involves inhaling water vapor, opens the airways and temporarily helps to drain mucus.
Since coughing is the body’s natural way of clearing the airways of mucus, controlled, purposeful coughing can assist the lungs with this process. Medical News Today outlines exactly how to do this at this link.
There are several different postures that can be adopted to defy gravity and help get mucus out of the lungs. Medical News Today explains these positions in more detail here.
A doctor or respiratory therapist can use a special technique called chest percussion to dislodge trapped mucus and remove it from the lungs.
It is important to recognize that, even though we may not be aware of it, our lungs are under constant attack from environmental toxins, pollution, cigarette smoke and other factors. These can be mitigated, however, by making the lifestyle changes noted above and, when necessary, utilizing special lung cleansing techniques.
Learn more about the dangers of air pollution at Environ.news.