Eating For Healthy Lungs Pt. 2
[Melody & MiaLana my smoothie Mix Masters!]
In part 2 we will explore more delicious and 'lung happy' foods to add to our arsenal for better breathing. So, for those needing to add some spice to their lives, there's a solution, :() Chili Peppers!! These spicy peppers are full of a substance called Capsaicin, it's what makes hot peppers Hot!
Capsaicin is believed to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the airways by first, stimulating and then blocking the cough inducing nerves, that bring on wheezing, shortness of breath and other symptoms of asthma. However, having too much at once may have the opposite effect as these peppers First stimulate the crucial nerves of the airways and too much of that kind of stimulation too fast, will flip asthmatics right into an attack! Ohh No!! :()
Gradually ingesting chili peppers over time, with first small then slightly higher amounts will desensitize those nerves which were 'annoyed' by the peppers in the first place. Gradual and consistent additions of capsaicin helps to rid the body of inflammation inducing allergens from the body. So, don't get crazy! :() Try adding small amounts of this fiery veggie into stir fries, eggs, salads, pizza, the options are endless. Stay tuned for more detail on ways to add these inflammation fighting foods into your daily meals.
Red Peppers are full of immune boosting vitamin C [ the highest amount of all the colored pepper varieties! ], vitamin A, lycopene[ what makes red peppers red and have been shown to fight cancer of the lungs], carotenoids, and antioxidants that are full of anti-inflammatory benefits. Red peppers are a real, and easily accessible superfood!
Next super stars come in as all of the Cruciferous Vegetables, these include Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower,Arugula, Brussel Sprouts, Collard Greens and Kale. These veggies are powerful soldiers in the war with lung cancer, and have been shown actually reduce the rate of getting lung cancer and to stop further development of this invader.
The secret weapon of these veggies is a compound called Sulfur compounds called glucosinolates that helps fight and reduce cancers of the breast, lung and colon. These veggies of course do what...fight inflammation! As 'heavy breathers' we must consistently add inflammation fighters to our diet! Crucifers have another benefit in that they help to balance those blood sugars. Asthmatics who are diabetic have the extra challenge of keeping those sugars level as many of the support meds and [inhalers] can raise them. You just can't go wrong with these powerful veggies.
Magnesium rich foods such as Nuts[specifically Cashews], and Seeds as well as Dark Leafy Greens, Avocados, Artichokes, Salmon Bananas, Dried Fruit, Kefir and Yogurt, Black Beans, Figs, and Dark Chocolate are rich and delicious additions for asthma support.
Magnesium [ A mineral ] contributes to healthy lung function and are full of many essential fatty acids to strengthen the cardiovascular system. Many times asthma sufferers are deficient in magnesium which can cause airway inflammation. Ugh! Can we catch a break?! LOL Magnesium helps to relax the air passages and reduces histamine levels. Low levels of magnesium can actually cause tightening of the bronchial airways, coupled with the fact that many medicines can deplete this mineral in our body. Asthmatics are often be deficient some of the very minerals that could aid in improving this condition. Maddening, I know! :O
One obvious and plentiful resource in which to fight asthma with is Water. Water is essential in assisting the body at keeping blood flowing in and out of the lungs. Hydrated lungs are happy lungs, because the mucus contained in the lungs is kept thin and flowing! That's what we want!
As asthmatics we have excessive amounts of histamine in the lungs. Having histamine overload keeps us drier from mouth breathing as some of us do [ from trying to breathe combined with stuffy nasal passages from other allergies common with asthmatics]. If we lose enough water through our lungs it causes that darn (histamine) to start causing 'drama' in the bronchial passages in order to try and access more mucus production and hang on to whats left. [ Remember mucus is our friend that only becomes a foe with overabundance!] Water is critical for keeping the right amount of moisture for proper lung function. Drinking enough water, and that's water, not replacements like teas, or other replacement drinks like Gatorade; keeps keep that inflammation under control. :()
Tumeric is terrific...for tough breathing times! :()
Tumeric is a root that's slightly brownish orange on the outside [ they look like little caterpillars to me!], and a lovely bright orangey yellow on the inside. Tumeric is like ginger in [Melody's excited to add in her favorite root spices Tumeric & Ginger into her green smoothies for natural healing and extra spice!]
that it's a powerful little fighter for our bodies against disease as its high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It's also high in Potassium, great support for the heart and the asthmatic heart takes a beating from all those inhalers and steroids! It's also good for bone and muscle maintenance, many of the asthma meds wreak havoc on nerves, bones, and tight cramped muscles.
Tumeric's also a rich source of Manganese, yet another mineral 'heavy breathers' seem to lack! Manganese helps to fight those free radicals[ disease growers!], aides in blood sugar control [ Super for those who are diabetic with asthma, because those darn meds that help to manage asthma can cause other problems], and in increasing energy production. [ Due to our lack of air, we need energy assistance! ]
An increase in magnesium rich foods can have a large impact on the reduction of asthma episodes. Tumeric's also high in Iron, fiber[ hurray! ], and B6. Iron effects how the body uses energy and carries oxygen throughout the body. Asthmatics lack many of the key minerals and vitamins we need for fighting asthma and that's why it's so important to eat a varied diet Full of asthma fighting fruits, roots, and veggies.
Pomegranates are impressive little soldiers for they're medicinal values. Among recent research, it's found that pomme's [ my short for this fruit! ] are much higher in antioxidants than many fruits or even red wine or green tea! Pomme's are also higher in antioxidants than oranges, and blueberries. This is definitely a Super Hero fruit. :() Pomegranates are rich in vitamin C Calcium, and vitamin B all which assist to fight and reverse disease.
Of course, the high content of vitamin C as you're learning is a power house for asthma as it is an anti-inflammatory. Antioxidants are immune boosters, 'cause you all know us 'heavy breathers' catch everything!' Another positive benefit of adding this sweet-tart seeded fruit to your asthma tool box is that it is effective in scratchy, sore throats those with asthma can get form the use of inhalers and other meds! [ Yep, I've been known to have 'inhaler throat' and sound like the Terminator! ] I've decreased this symptom lately with a large increase of water!
We can begin to see a pattern emerging as we choose to eat to support our lung health, by getting in antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals all help to keep mucus production under control, inflammation down and a strong cardiovascular system so that we can combat the effects of heavy meds, and overtaxed lungs. It's not difficult to eat for lung health, all of these foods mentioned are simple and easy to find in most markets and to add to any diet. Smoothies [ green or otherwise! ] make it even easier because all you have to do is mix and drink away! Foods like these are also colorful, flavor enhancing and make our plates beautiful with their abundance of hues and textures! Asthmatics invest so much into good asthma control, as there are so many factors that go into the mix to gain level and steady breathing; isn't it worth it to give ourselves the gift of nutritional support to enhance the value of all that care we're investing in?
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