4. Get Your Vitamin D
Research has shown that those with higher levels of vitamin D have better lung functioning. The experts believe that the vitamin helps to lower inflammation, which in turn boosts lung health. A 2014 study out of the University of London published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, found that taking vitamin D supplements was able to reduce COPD lung disease flare-ups by more than 40% in those who had a deficiency. COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, includes conditions like chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
At the end of the study, participants who took 100,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D every month, had improvement in respiratory muscle strength and were also able to exercise longer and more intensely as compared to those who didn’t. The recommended daily allowance of the vitamin in the U.S. is 600 IU daily for adults up to age 70 (800 for those over 70). In addition to supplements, be sure to get outside in the sun for 15 minutes a day in order for your skin to produce its own vitamin D naturally – there’s a reason it’s called the sunshine vitamin.
5. Exercise Regularly
Regular, moderately intense exercise is great for the lungs, helping to naturally cleanse and support them. While working out in itself won’t make the lungs stronger, it will help you get more out of them, according to Norman H. Edelman, MD, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association.
Edelman says that the “better your cardiorespiratory fitness, the easier it is for your lungs to keep your heart and muscles supplied with oxygen.” Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderately intense movement every day – and, if necessary, you can break it up into increments, such as 10 minutes at a time.
In addition, to support lung health, you’ll be supporting the health of your heart and a better mood at the same time.