Keeping your lungs strong is more vital now than ever, with everything from colds to COVID floating around and trying to cause trouble. Thankfully, experts say boosting respiratory health can be as simple as relaxing in front of the TV and treating yourself to some chocolate. Sound too good to be true? Keep reading for six super-easy ways to boost lung power and protect yourself from viruses.
Take up the harmonica.
Researchers say that playing a harmonica for a few minutes daily could help you breathe 27 percent more easily and deeply, boosting lung stamina by 30 percent!
Relax in front of the TV.
To boost the amount of oxygen that reaches your lungs by 20 percent, simply lie on your stomach with your chest on a pillow and breathe through your nose while you watch TV. British researchers say sinuses release a compound (nitric oxide) that opens airways, plus blocks the growth of viral invaders — and lying on your chest allows the germ-killer to reach deep into the lungs.
Snack on dark chocolate.
This treat brims with anti-inflammatory, lung-healing compounds called flavonoids, says neurosurgeon Joseph C. Maroon, M.D. No wonder University of Pittsburgh scientists say two ounces of dark chocolate daily can reduce risk of bronchitis and stubborn coughs by 32 percent.
Take a vitamin D supplement.
You’ll absorb 50 percent more vitamin D-3 if you take it with your biggest meal of the day, researchers say. That’s good news, since optimal D-3 levels cut the risk of lung diseases by 70 percent and COVID complications sevenfold. Pawel Majak, M.D., explains that D-3 helps immune cells destroy germs without damaging healthy tissue. Dr. Majak recommends 3,000 IU of vitamin D-3 daily. Note: Check with you doctor before starting a new supplement routine.
Toss your shower curtain in the laundry.
Shower curtains stay damp for hours, making them breeding grounds for lung-irritating bacteria and mold. Thankfully, tossing your curtain into the wash once a week can eliminate 100 percent of these pesky germs, plunging your risk of damaging lung inflammation.
Take a ‘salt cure.’
Recovering from a cold, sinusitis, or other respiratory illness? Breathing in moist, salty air relaxes airways and loosens mucus so it’s easier to expel, cutting recovery time by 25 percent, British researchers say. To do: Stir two tablespoons of sea salt into two cups of hot (not boiling) water, create a towel tent, and breathe the warm, salty air for 10 minutes daily.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.