Keeping lungs in tip-top shape is more important than ever these days. That’s because healthy lungs not only fend off viral infections like colds, flu and COVID-19, they are better equipped to bounce back more quickly if an invader does sneak in. Thankfully, experts say keeping your lungs healthy and strong is easy! Just…
Pop a lozenge.
The mineral zinc keeps viruses from multiplying inside cells and reduces the risk of pneumonia by up to 50 percent. Indeed, a recent Spanish report reveals that folks with healthy zinc levels were 76 percent less likely to suffer from serious COVID complications. That’s why functional medicine expert Fred Pescatore, M.D., advises letting a 50-mg. zinc lozenge dissolve in your mouth daily to best attack respiratory viruses at their point of entry.
Breathe like this.
Nasal tissues produce a gas known as nitric oxide (NO) that enhances lung function, upping oxygen levels by 20 percent. What’s more, NO has antiviral powers that defend against infection, reports Nobel laureate Louis Ignarro, Ph.D. Speed NO to the lungs by simply inhaling through the nose.
Munch on an apple.
That apple you just crunched goes a long way to supporting lung health. That’s because apple skins contain flavonoids that reduce airway inflammation, plus strengthen lung tissues, says immunologist Joanna Makowska, M.D. No wonder Finnish researchers say one large apple daily boosts resistance to viral invaders by 32 percent.
Calm a cough.
Ivy leaf extract tamps down lung inflammation, opens airways and eases chronic coughing just as effectively as Rx meds, often in a week, say German researchers. The study-proven dose: 150 mg. daily. Try: Nature’s Way Ivy Extract ($10.37, iHerb)
Linger in the shower.
“Moist air is a like a Kevlar vest for the lungs,” according to Jeffrey Gusky, M.D., a specialist in emergency medicine. Indeed, keeping mucous membranes moist maintains a barrier that prevents viruses from penetrating lungs. Tip: Set a washcloth dabbed with eucalyptus oil on the shower floor. Studies show its cineol protects lungs against infection.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.