If you truly want to improve your overall health, it’s important to take good care of your lungs. And one of the best ways to do so is to keep a close eye on the foods that you eat.

The lungs are an essential organ for human life because they work to bring in oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. This all occurs without us even consciously thinking about it. Providing the right nutrients for your body can improve the function of your lungs and overall health.

In this article, we’ve listed out all of the best foods to eat for healthier lungs and easier breathing. So if you’re ready, let’s go ahead and dive right in.

Medical Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician with any questions that you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read in this article.

Eat More Foods with Healthy Fats

1. Salmon

Salmon contains a large amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. While these healthy fats have been widely-touted for their cholesterol-reducing effects, studies show that they can help ease asthma symptoms as well.

Not only is Salmon good for lung health, it also helps to prevent cardiac disease. Of course, Salmon isn’t the only fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Steelhead trout, sardines, and anchovies are loaded with these healthy fats as well.

Salmon and Walnuts Healthy Fats Vector

2. Nuts

Nuts are another great source of beneficial fats. Research shows a small handful a day can lower the risk of cancer. Some studies claim that one serving of walnuts every day can reduce your cancer risk by up to 50%.

3. Flaxseeds

Not only do flaxseeds contain Omega-3 fatty acids, they also have lignans which offer an array of benefits. In an experiment conducted with mice that were exposed to toxic compounds, the animals whose diet included flax seed showed less lung damage under microscopic examination.

The researchers could not determine if it was the Omega-3 fatty acids or the lignans that caused this result. But the point still remains — flaxseeds offer great benefits for your lungs and overall health.

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Eat More Spices that Reduce Inflammation

Medical science has shown that chronic inflammation has a huge number of negative effects on your health. This means that the foods that fight inflammation are particularly good for your lungs as well. Let’s look at some examples:

4. Ginger

Ginger is a spice that has long been an asthma remedy in herbal medicine. Not only does it fight inflammation, ginger seems to naturally promote smooth muscle relaxation in the airways of the lungs which helps to make breathing easier. 

5. Turmeric (Curcumin)

Curcumin in the active anti-inflammatory ingredient found in Turmeric, a spice common in Middle-eastern and Asian food. Turmeric has many of the same benefits for the lungs as Ginger.

6. Garlic

Garlic is another spice that reduces inflammation in the body. Not only does it reduce inflammation, it also possesses antiseptic properties that help the body ward off infections.

One study indicated that the consumption of raw garlic could reduce the lung cancer rate in smokers by up to 40%.

7. Onions

Yes, technically onions are vegetables, but many people use dried onions as a seasoning while cooking.

Consuming onions reduces inflammation and lowers cholesterol levels which can provide a boost to your cardiopulmonary system.

8. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is the signature spice in Cajun food. Not only does it add a spicy jolt to your food, cayenne pepper also stimulates healthy secretions within the body that protect mucus membranes. This is important because the lungs contain an enormous amount of mucus membrane tissue where oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange takes place.

Cayenne contains beta-carotene which is a strong antioxidant that has been shown to relieve asthma symptoms.

It also contains large amounts of capsaicin, which is a chemical compound that helps fight infections, maintain mucus membrane health, and promotes the improvement of blood flow. Healthy blood flow promotes additional nutrients to the lungs.

Buying spices in bulk is a great way to plan ahead and save money in the long-term.
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9. Chili Peppers

Like cayenne pepper, chili peppers also contain capsaicin. Chili pepper is frequently found in Mexican food as well as other cuisine around the world.

Like others mentioned in this article, some recent experiments suggest that chili peppers can slow down the spread of lung cancer.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants help clean up free radicals in the body. Free radicals are known to cause genetic mutations which can inhibit the proper function of every organ in your body, including the lungs.

These mutations can also lead to cancer, which is obviously something that we want to avoid. This is why eating fruits and vegetable that are high in antioxidants is so important for the health of your lungs. 

10. Oranges

Oranges contain large amounts of vitamin C, Iron, and vitamin B6. The latter two are are necessary to synthesize red blood cells which transport oxygen in the body. Studies found that oranges can help lower blood pressure which has a direct effect on the performance of your lungs. 

A different study found that vitamin C can prevent and treat acute upper respiratory tract infections.

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11. Grapefruit

Studies found that consuming grapefruit juice may provide a boost for treating cancer. Grapefruits are also high in Vitamin C, which provides all the benefits that we mention earlier. 

12. Avocado

Avocados are loaded with antioxidants, healthy fats, and other nutrients that are beneficial for your lungs. Specifically, they are high in Vitamin E.

Studies found that Vitamin E may help protect the lungs from damages caused by smoking and air pollution.

13. Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, possess nutrients and components that are beneficial for your lungs.

Specifically, they contain chlorophyll which helps increase blow flow to the respiratory system. They are also high in antioxidants that help ward off free radicals.

14. Carrots

Bugs bunny wasn’t wrong after all — eating carrots really is good for your overall health.

That is because, carrots contain a large amount of vitamin C, lycopene, and carotenoids. Studies found that carotenoids can reduce the risk of lung cancer in those who smoke cigarettes.

They are also high in Vitamin A which is helpful in repairing lung tissue.

Rabbit Eating a Carrot Vector

15. Berries

Berries contain large amounts of antioxidants, which, as we’ve already established, provide many positive benefits for your lungs.

Some tasty berries that you can add to your diet include acai, blueberries, cranberries, grapes, and strawberries. Or, you can consider adding a berry superfood supplement to your daily routine.

This super-greens powder contains 30 servings of spirulina, elderberry, and other antioxidants.
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Beverages that Provide Benefits for Healthy Lungs

16. Water

Hydration is important for every organ in the body, including the lungs. An ample supply of water helps remove waste, aids in nutrient transport, increases blood volume and flow, helps regulate the body temperature, and helps mucus membranes prevent foreign matter from entering the body.

The lungs contain a huge volume of delicate mucus membranes that need moisture in order to function properly. Dehydration causes the mucus and secretions in the lungs to thicken up which makes it more difficult to be expectorated. This is why it’s important to drink a lot of water. 

Drinks that are Good for Your Lungs Water and Coffee

17. Coffee

This one seems a bit counterintuitive because the doctors of cardiac patients often recommend to avoid coffee due to the stimulative effects of caffeine. With that said, coffee is a vasodilator that improves blood flow throughout the circulatory system which could potentially benefit the lungs.

Coffee also provides anti-inflammatory effects and essential minerals that can help fight off infections. Just a reminder, please only consume coffee or caffeine if its been approved by your doctor.

Foods to Avoid for Healthy Lungs

While this article mostly focuses on foods that benefit the lungs, knowing what to avoid can be just as important. Because you don’t want to undo all of the positive benefits of a lung-healthy diet by eating harmful foods.

Foods to Avoid for Healthy Lungs Vector

Here’s a Simple Rule of Thumb:

Any food that causes inflammation can be harmful to the lungs. This is especially true if you suffer from asthma, COPD, or other respiratory conditions.

Also keep in mind that there are certain foods that cause allergies which results in inflammation in some people. A few examples include:

  • Dairy products
  • Gluten

These are typically found in most bread and cereal products. So you may consider avoiding them if your body is allergic or reacts negatively after consumption.

Finally, too much salt is bad for your lungs as well because it causes water retention. Yes, hydration in necessary to keep the organs functioning properly, but too much water interferes with nutrient transport and electrolyte balance. So try to avoid processed foods that are high in sodium.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. Now you know all of the top recommended foods that you can add to your diet for healthier lungs. You also know which foods to avoid. Hopefully, you can use this list to improve the quality of your breathing and the overall health of your respiratory system. 

Just a reminder — always check with your doctor before changing your diet or taking any supplements. Thank you so much for reading and as always, breathe easy my friend. 


The following are the sources that were used while doing research for this article: