14 Foods for Lung Health

A picture of a dining table with food

Can Food Improve Lung Health?

An unhealthy lifestyle and toxic air are responsible for many cases of respiratory disorders, hence the need to care for the lungs cannot be overemphasized. There are foods that improve lung health; let`s see some of them.

14 Foods for Healthy Lungs


Ginger is popular for treating colds and sore throats. It contains a bioactive compound called gingerol, which prevents asthma, migraines, cold, and hypertension. Gingerol is also responsible for the pungent taste that ginger has.


Garlic contains allicin, a phytonutrient which possesses anticancer, antimicrobial, and blood pressure lowering properties, hence its positive impact on the lungs. It is particularly healthy for lung cancer and lung disorder patients, and those who desire to prevent these conditions. You may just consume 2-3 cloves of garlic daily; you could add it to your salads, curries, or salad dressing to protect your lungs from infections and diseases.


Spinach is rich in minerals and vitamins; it particularly contains phytochemicals that prevent oxidative damage, combat cancer, and fight inflammation. Other dark leafy greens such as chard, radish greens, and kale are also great for the lungs. You may consume a cup of any of these vegetables daily to boost your immunity and keep your lungs healthy.

Fatty Fish

Haddock, wild-caught salmon, mackerel, and other fatty fish are rich in EPA and DHA, two omega-3 fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-oxidative.


You already know the saying about an apple a day. Apples contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that reduce the risk of inflammation, cancer, asthma, and cardiovascular disease. If you care for your lungs, then you should snack on apples as often as you can.

Beans, Seeds, and Nuts

A picture of sorghumBeans, seeds, and nuts are great sources of protein, and they have anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming them helps you reduce inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol. It also helps you manage visceral adiposity. You may have half a cup of beans and a handful of nuts and seeds daily.


Broccoli is a super healing food. It is rich in sulforaphane (SFN) which is anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial, and possesses antioxidant properties. Have you considered half a cup of blanched or grilled broccoli once in two days? Do so, and give your lungs and entire health a treat.


Grapefruit is low in calories, and rich in vitamins B6, vitamin C, folic acid, thiamine, and magnesium. Its naringenin content possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which benefit the lungs and entire health immensely.
Note, however, that there are cases in which grapefruit may not be safe for people with lung issues. It is advisable to consult your doctor before consuming grapefruit if you have a record of lung health issues.


Avocados are rich in vitamins B6, E, K, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, and polyunsaturated fatty acid. They possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, hence they combat arthritis and inflammation of the joints. They`re also healthy for the lungs.


Turmeric contains curcumin, an active ingredient with antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, hence their ability to counteract cancers, obesity, and inflammatory disorders. You may consume an inch of turmeric root every morning, or add turmeric powder to your salad dressing, smoothies, and curries.


People who consume diets rich in poultry can reduce the risk of lung cancer by 10%. Try to incorporate hormone-free poultry in your diets. Have some poached, broiled, and grilled poultry at different times for variety.


Berries are rich sources of phenolic acids, tannins, flavonoids, ascorbic acids, and some other phytochemicals which boost immunity, improve heart health, reduce inflammation, and combat various kinds of cancers. You can add berries to smoothies, and have it for breakfast. Your lungs and entire health will thank you for it.


Apricots are super effective at protecting the lungs. They`re rich in vitamins C and E, lycopene, and beta-carotene ― these are antioxidants that keep free radicals away. What`s more? Apricots have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and anti-allergic properties. Try adding apricots to smoothies and salads for a healthy and sumptuous breakfast.

Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are rich in lycopene, vitamin C, and beta-carotene ― these antioxidants neutralize the free oxygen radicals, leaving the lungs and other vital organs fit and disease-free. Whether raw, grilled, sautéed, or blanched, add some red peppers to your salads and other delicacies; your lungs need it.

7 Foods to Avoid for Healthy Lungs

Fried Foods

Fried foods cause bloating and discomfort because they put some pressure on the diaphragm, and this causes some difficulty in breathing. Also, their unhealthy fats and cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease. So instead of those French fries, fried chicken, and similar foods, why not have baked foods sometimes?

Excessive Salt

A heavy-salt diet can be unhealthy. It causes you to retain water, and excess water causes breathing problems.

Acidic Foods and Drinks

A picture of tomato sauceAvoiding or reducing acidic foods and drink is essential to reduce acid reflux symptoms, as acid reflux, characterized by consistent heartburns, may lead to lung disease. So you may need to cut down on fruit juice, citrus, tomato sauce, coffee, and spicy foods.

Chili Peppers

Chili peppers contain capsaicin which makes it hot, and beyond that, contains antioxidant and anticancer properties. Chilies will keep your lungs in good shape and do even more for your entire health.

Cold Cuts

Some of these meats contain nitrates which preserve them and add color to them. Regular consumption of such meats increases your risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Dairy Products

Dairy products can worsen symptoms of lung disease as a result of its casomorphin content which increases mucus in the intestines. This increased intestinal mucus also occurs during flare-ups of people who suffer lung disease.

Carbonated Beverages

Carbonated drinks are often filled with sugar, excess carbonation, and unhealthy levels of calories. They cause weight gain and bloating, hence putting some pressure on the lungs. Reducing the intake of these drinks such as sparkling wine, sodas, beer, sparkling cider, and having more water is healthy for you.

Some Lung Facts

  • The left lung is lighter than the right lung.
  • The left lung has two lobes, while the right lung has three lobes.
  • The lungs are connected to the spinal cord and the chest bone.
  • The lungs, like the heart, are protected by the rib cage in the chest.
  • When one inhales, the lungs expand because the diaphragm squeezes.
  • The diaphragm is a small dome-shaped muscle below the lungs, and when it experiences a malfunction, one may experience breathing difficulties.
  • The lungs always retain a liter of air in the airways, no matter how hard one exhales.
  • Human lungs inhale and exhale about 2,100 to 2,400 gallons (8,000 to 9,000 liters) of air each day.
  • The lungs are the only organ where the blood picks up oxygen.
  • The lungs have taste receptors, and whenever these taste receptors encounter a bitter taste, they help the airways to relax.
  • The brain is responsible for the rate of respiration.
  • People can survive on one lung, however, there would be limits to physical activities they can do.
  • People who carry out regular physical exercises build their lung capacity, hence send oxygen through their bodies faster as a result.
  • Breathing slows down at night while you rest.

Now That You Know…

The lungs are quite delicate, and caring for them cannot be overemphasized. So as you adopt positive lifestyle changes, ensure your diet is lung-friendly.