Respiratory diseases can be frightening. The top are asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, lung cancer, pneumonia, pleural effusion, cystic fibrosis, bronchitis, bronchiectasis, pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis, and tuberculosis.
Not being able to breathe is probably the scariest condition you can have. There are many other diseases that create fear, such as cancer and heart disease, but if you aren’t in the immediate serious throws of it, I believe not being able to breathe beats them all. I hope to never experience it.
What causes them, and what can we do to either eliminate them, reduce the severity, or slow the progression?
Many are genetic. We once thought that if you have the genetic propensity for a particular health condition, you will likely succumb to it. We now know through the field of epigenetics, that we have more control over our genetic expression than we thought we had. Having said that, the time to change your lifestyle – foods, exercise, behavior, emotional health, etc. – needs to start now, not after the disease presents itself (although it can still be helpful).
Food is vital. Every day cells are dying in your body (pre-programmed cell death), and every day you are making new cells. You are losing cells from your brain, your blood stream, your organs, your bones, and your lungs. If you want to change the health of those new cells your body is making, you have to provide, via diet, all the building materials necessary to make good, strong, vibrant replacements. If your diet is full of sugar, caffeine, junk oils, chemicals, and artificial ingredients, you are expecting the body to make something out of nothing. Lung health starts with every decision you make as to what goes into your mouth today, and yesterday, and tomorrow.
You need good oils and fats, and good quality protein for the lungs to have flexibility and resiliency. You need fresh foods such as beets, beet greens, Swiss chard, tomatoes, peppers, apples, turmeric; purple foods such as red cabbage, blueberries, and plums to provide active anti-oxidants and other factors to fight harmful substances that you inhaled. Oysters and Brazil nuts have vitamins and minerals that are also helpful for lung health.
Of course, you need to keep your immune system strong and avoid things such as smoking and working or living in polluted environments. Be careful what you inhale – perfumes and even hairspray can reduce lung health. It is actually really easy to make your own hairspray. In the 1900’s people simply mixed sugar and water (see internet for recipes).
As with so many diseases, lung health is something you can take control of. Being cognizant of what you are inhaling is a start. Diet is next. If you find yourself already with lung disease try acupuncture. There are numerous studies about the effectiveness of acupuncture in lung disease – from asthma and bronchitis to COPD. We can help.
©2022 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.