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Eating for Healthy Lungs Part 1

Can I call you Little Asthma? 'Cause you take my breath away. :()

Our lungs; part of the epicenter for our existence, after all they are diligent workers that pull in Oxygen then transport it everywhere throughout the body, and they allow us to breathe out Carbon Dioxide [ Which is marvelous for all the plant life! ]. Our lungs also work in conjunction with our immune system as they contain mucus [ Yes, our body makes mucus, it's when we produce too much that we end up in the land of trouble! :() The mucus in the lungs aids to contain microbes which cause infection, and pollutants and transport them out via our ability to Cough and Sneeze. [ So the next time you're annoyed by those untimely sneezes, remember it's your lungs keeping you together!]

Most people don't give a thought about their lungs, and for the most part they don't have to because they have proper functioning, healthy lungs. But for those of use who have lung issues, they're never far from out thoughts. It's imperative for those of us with asthma, and other lung diseases to take diligent care of ourselves, our lungs specifically.

Eating foods that are anti- Inflammatory is critical, I can't stress that enough. Why? Remember, the bronchial tubes [ our airways] become inflamed it makes it difficult for the lungs to take in air. Foods that help our body to fight inflammation will assist our lungs as they are usually working extra hard for us 'heavy breathers'! There are so many choices with these types of foods that not only taste good but are full of flavor, because who wants to munch on bland tasteless food? :{}

One of the forerunners in anti-inflammatory foods is Ginger, my all time holy grail flavor enhancer, and spicy root

[ Fresh Cardboard delivery! Loaded with fiber]

food! Ginger is full of inflammatory fighters that help keep the lungs clear of garbage that doesn't belong there and our bronchial airways open to the proper size they're meant to be!

Ginger is mostly known for soothing tummy troubles like nausea, but it can do so, so much more! Ginger is good for heart health, arthritis, and asthma management. It's been found to enhance the effects of [bronchodilating] meds used to treat asthma Yay! Ginger is such an effective inflammatory fighter because if its specific antioxidant properties. Ginger root contains gingerols, zingerones, and shogaols, and while these sound like they're straight out of a Dr.Seuss book, they are specific compounds which have properties similar to anti-inflammatory drugs. There are so many ways to incorporate this powerful root into your diet.

You can purchase ginger root at most markets [ they sort of look like small thick tree branches ;() ], you can start out with an inch of the root sliced[ ahh, the smell of fresh ginger!!] and ground into smoothies, and juiced into fresh juices. As you become used to the 'kick' you receive from it's potent spicy flavor you can move up to using more. I use up to 3 inches or more depending on how much juice/smoothie mixture I'm making. We like it Hot & spicy in our household!

Ginger root can be sliced and added to boiling water[ for 5 to 10 minutes] along with fresh sliced lemons and pure honey for a delicious natural ginger tea and 'tonic' for tired, scratchy, sore throats and for when you feel like you're coming down with a cold or simply have an over worked throat. [ The lemons in the mixture are too, powerful antioxidants for disease fighting power!] Ginger can be minced and added to many dishes, sweet and savory; home made Ginger Snaps anyone! ['memba' those?]

Garlic and Onions are the next super fighters for inflammation.These are powerful

[ and delicious :() ] foods and flavor enhancers filled with antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. As asthmatics, we are prone to easily catch colds and other nasties [ pneumonia..], so adding these two foods is like 'multitasking' our defenses!

Apples, yes,we all know an apple a day doesn't actually keep away the docs, but they do play an important role in our well being. Apples are full of nutrients like flavonoids; that may be responsible for keeping our airways open, also vitamin C and E, which are associated with healthy lung function.

Coffee & Tea (black), ok folks this one gets me excited! i've always known and experienced the beneficial effects of these tasty drinks because as a teen I was given strong black coffee/tea to help relax my airways during a mild attack. [This is in no way, a free pass to go without your doctor prescribed inhalers,]However, the Caffeine in coffee/tea that acts as a bronchodilator which helps air flow. When I'm in an asthma flare, I use these drinks to enhance my meds. :)

Flax Seeds have come full circle, they are pretty popular now but have always been hard little workers for our well being. Flax is full of Fiber and [Magnesium another asthma winner for relaxing the muscles around the bronchial airways.] Airway constriction is what causes an asthma attack. Flax also contains Omega 3's [ fatty acids which lower the risk of chronic disease like cancer, arthritis, heart disease, bone health, and assist in supporting the brain in function and memory] and lignans in high concentrations which reduces those ever inflamed lungs!

Don't be [scared!], there are numerous ways ways to get flax into the diet. Flax seed, or it's ground counterpart [ The best way to incorporate it into your body, because the whole seed will 'pass' through you if you know what I mean!] imparts a mild nutty flavor to your food. Simply toss some flax seeds into your blender or spice grinder or even better just buy them pre ground, I do. I keep both on hand depending on what I'm making [for example I like adding whole flax seeds into a cracker mixture as the bake up nice and crunchy :() ]. It's optimal to store the ground seeds in a cool place, or your fridge/freezer, (they don't actually freeze) to prevent them from going rancid, although I have stored my ground flax in my kitchen cupboard without any troubles, it's wise to be careful.

[ My face after the shock of opening my jars of seeds-grown-to-moths! :D ]

Speaking of improperly storing... I have a little story :() Back in the day I used to store my seeds and nuts in my cupboard probably too near the stove. One day in the summer I went to open one of the jars of seeds and they'd turned into some kind of moths! Yikes! I keep a clean house! Needless to say I was pretty grossed out and really wanted nothing to do with seeds or nuts for a while!! LOL Moral of the story peeps, don't be like me and deny your seeds/nuts their proper storage place in your kitchen!

Ok, back to matters at hand, flax seeds [ground] can be sprinkled into you favorite hot cereal hot or cold, yogurt, into smoothies and protein shakes. Ground flax can be tossed into any batter of your choosing like muffin, or waffle. It's just important to remember to add more liquid to whatever your using in baked goods batter because flax Absorbs liquid. You don't want to end up with dry flapjacks! :() I'll get more in detail with the tasty things you can do with the ingredients being discussed in a future blog!

Citrus fruits lemons, oranges, kiwi, grapefruits, limes are super for those ailing lungs. Rich in vitamin C, B6, and flavonoids [those trusted cancer inhibitors!], Vitamin C also helps protect against inflammation of the lungs. A flavonoid called Naringin in grapefruits specifically, is proving to be highly effective at cleansing the lungs. We're building an army here, using nutrient dense foods in the war against Asthma!! We're putting 'sanctions' on this enemy inflammation!!

Carrots not just for rabbits and horses! But they are wise for they have an innate knowledge of how to eat for their health :() Carrots are also rich in vitamin C and B6 which, as we see over and again, are heavy hitters for assisting with the lungs to

transfer oxygen. Carrots are also high in Beta-Carotene it's what makes carrots and other orange fruits/veg well, orange! Beta-carotene allows the body to convert it into vitamin A, as well as protecting the body against Free Radicals-those nasty bits that cause disease!] Other orangey and delicious additions to add onto your plate are Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes, and Squash like Butternut and Acorn.

So now we have a starting road map to navigate the rough roads of asthma health! In part 2 we'll explore even more easy to find and tasty foods to add to your everyday life to not only have a positive effect on our lungs, but our overall health.

~Over the Teeth & Through the Gums...Watch out Stomach Here it Comes!

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