Breathing properly is fundamental to good health, and you shouldn’t take your respiratory system for granted, especially if you live in a big city. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. In addition to prudent supplementation and a diet rich in beta-carotene and other antioxidants, simple lifestyle steps can help promote healthy lungs for a lifetime.
- Don’t smoke. Tobacco addiction is the single greatest cause of preventable illness, greatly increasing the risks of developing lung cancer and respiratory diseases.
- Get regular exercise. It helps promote healthy lung function and optimal oxygen delivery throughout the body.
- Avoid exposure to environmental air pollutants. High ozone levels, smog, car exhaust, asbestos and metal dusts are unhealthy for lungs and can lead to lung disease. Use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to reduce exposure to smoke and smog, and wear a protective mask when you are in close proximity to lung irritants such as drywall dust or fiberglass insulation fibers.
- Limit exposure to toxic household cleaners. Chlorine bleach, petroleum distillates, ammonia, formaldehyde and nitrobenzene can harm the lungs. Use safer alternatives for cleaning such as baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar.
It is also prudent to practice deep breathing exercises to increase lung capacity, improve respiratory efficiency, and promote general relaxation, as well as to maintain a normal weight: excess pounds tax both the heart and lungs. If you’re overweight, you’re more likely to experience shortness of breath.
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