Lung Health Awareness
By Sogol Mousavi; BSc, MIPH
Every single day, we take about 22,000 breaths on average2. “Anyone can get lung disease – it affects approximately 1 in 4 Australians and is the second leading cause of death in this country.”
There are a number of ways you can protect your lungs and help them function optimally. Firstly, don’t smoke. Cigarettes are the leading cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Over time, the smoke from cigarettes damages the tissue within the lungs and could potentially trigger changes in the cells that could grow into cancer. Quitting at any stage has benefits, but the earlier one quits, the better.
Secondly, try to get more exercise. This should go without saying, as exercise has countless benefits outside of just lung health. However, it’s important to note that exercise itself won’t necessarily strengthen your lungs directly, but it will help you get more out of them. This is because “the better your cardiorespiratory fitness, the easier it is for your lungs to keep your heart and muscles supplied with oxygen.”
Another thing you can do is avoid exposure to pollutants such as chemicals in house/workplace, second-hand smoke, and air pollution. However, pollution is not just an outdoor problem. There are several sources of indoor pollution as well, including fireplaces, mould, pet dander, and certain construction materials.
Last but not least, eat right. Research shows that antioxidant-rich foods are good for your lungs – however, this only pertains to eating food, not supplements. Studies have shown that people who regularly ate cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, kale, etc.) had only half the risk of lung cancer compared to those who didn’t. This is due to the high level of antioxidants contained in these foods.
If you would like help tailoring your nutritional habits to be the best version of yourself you can be, or if you suffer from a form of lung disease, the Endeavour Wellness Clinic offers nutrition consultations Monday through Saturday to help optimise your health. To book in, visit our website or call the clinic on 1300 859 785.
The symptoms of lung disease have a tendency to appear slowly, yet instead of getting help, people instinctively shift their lifestyle and daily activities to shrink their symptoms. Lung Foundation Australia encourages people to take two minutes out of their day to complete their online Lung Health Checklist.
1. Lung Health Awareness Month [Internet]. Lung Foundation Australia. 2018 [cited 2018Apr13]. Available from: https://lungfoundation.com.au/events/lung-health-awareness-month-4/
2. Lung Health [Internet]. Lung Foundation Australia. 2014 [cited 2018Apr13]. Available from: https://lungfoundation.com.au/lung-health/
3. Tips to Keep Your Lungs Healthy [Internet]. American Lung Association. [cited 2018Apr13]. Available from: http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/protecting-your-lungs/
4. Harding A. 12 Ways to Keep Your Lungs Strong and Healthy [Internet]. Health.com. 2011 [cited 2018Apr16]. Available from: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20488696,00.html#exercise-more-0
5. Jiang Y, Wu S-H, Shu X-O, Xiang Y-B, Ji B-T, Milne GL, Cai Q, Zhang X, Gao Y-T, Zheng W, Yang G. Cruciferous Vegetable Intake Is Inversely Correlated with Circulating Levels of Proinflammatory Markers in Women. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2014;114(5).