With COVID-19 and the threat it poses to lungs, we wondered what we could do protect them. Happily, easy natural swaps make lungs more virus-proof than ever!
Swap canola oil for olive oil.
Northwestern University researchers report the vitamin E in canola, corn and soybean oils (gamma-tocopherol) worsens lung function by increasing inflammation that leads to reduced lung capacity and increased difficulty breathing. But the type of E in olive oil (alpha-tocopherol) protects against inflammation and preserves healthy lung function. (Fun fact: Olive oil can also help you lose weight!)
Swap chemical disinfectants for natural cleaners.
We’ve all reached for heavy-duty cleaners to protect ourselves. But a study conducted at Harvard Medical School determined that exposure to chemicals found in disinfectants increased risk of lung disease by as much as 38 percent. Luckily, the EPA reports a natural compound found in thyme oil (thymol) is an effective coronavirus disinfectant. One to try: Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner ($17.96, Amazon)
Swap mouth breathing for inhaling through your nose.
“Cells and tissues in the nose produce nitric oxide,” notes Louis Ignarro, Ph.D., who won a Nobel Prize for discovering the gas’s role in lung health. “Inhaling through the nose drives nitric oxide into your lungs.” That’s key, since it can kill viruses and prevent their dividing and spreading.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.