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20 Foods to Promote Lung Health and 5 to Avoid

20 Foods to Promote Lung Health and 5 to Avoid

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Lung-Healthy Food Types


You might not be able to avoid asbestos or asthma that runs in your family, but you can choose what things you eat. Staying away from fried foods that are high in calories can help your general health and make lung disease symptoms better.

Healthy Fats

Most of the time, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats come from plants and don’t contain cholesterol. These good fats can help lower your blood pressure, ease inflammation, and make your health better in general, which can make it easier for you to breathe.

Olive oil





Proteins help your body stay strong and can help it make cells for your defense system. To make your lungs stronger and yourself stronger, you should eat something high in protein at least twice a day.

Lean meats

Complex Carbs

Fiber, which is found in large amounts in complex carbohydrates, can help keep your gut system and blood sugar levels in check. Simple carbs, like table sugar and candy, can make you fat and raise your blood pressure, so you should limit them. Choose complex carbs instead, which can help you get fiber and energy. You can find them in some fruits and vegetables as well as whole-grain bread and pasta.

Whole-grain bread
Fresh fruits and vegetables


Fresh fruits and vegetables

Fruits and veggies that are still fresh help your body stay healthy and fit by giving you minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Some foods, though, are better for your lungs than others. Apples, apricots, and peaches can make you feel bloated, so choose berries, bananas, and grapes instead.




Low-FODMAPย fruits, including:

Non-starchy vegetables, including:



It’s important to have a healthy amount of potassium in your body to keep your lungs working well because it can help lower water retention, keep blood pressure in check, and make breathing better. Most people get their potassium from bananas, but you can also find it in other fruits and vegetables.

Leafy greens





Foods to Promote Lung Health


It has been shown that these five foods are good for your lungs.


Apples have been shown to slow down lung decline and even reverse lung damage caused by smoke because they contain the antioxidant quercetin. COPD was also less likely to happen to people who ate five or more apples a week.


Eating beetroot and beet greens can help people who are having trouble breathing because they improve lung function, lower blood pressure, and make it easier for the body to take in air. Beets also have a lot of vitamins and nutrients that are good for your lungs, like potassium and calcium.



Pumpkins have a lot of antioxidants, which are linked to better lung health. Additionally, carotenoids have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities that improve health and comfort.


You can get a lot of lycopene from vegetables. Lycopene is a type of carotene that has been linked to better lung function. Eating tomatoes and tomato products has also been linked to fewer lung problems and more healthy airways.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like kale, bok choy, and spinach are a great way to get vitamins, iron, potassium, and antioxidants. These nutrients can help lower inflammation in the lungs and improve health in general because they are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.





Food Types to Avoid if You Have Lung Disease

Avoiding these foods can help keep lung disease symptoms at bay.

Salty Foods

Sodium makes you hold on to water, which can make people with lung disease short of breath. The salt bowl is the most obvious place to get sodium, but most of the sodium we eat is already in the food we eat. Cut down on salty spices and make sure that the foods you buy don’t have more than 300 milligrams of salt per serving to lower your sodium intake.

To cut down on salt, season food with herbs and spices instead of salt and read food labels before you buy it.



Dairy Products

The body makes more phlegm and mucus when it breaks down dairy goods. This process is called casomorphin digestion of milk. This can make coughing worse, which can make COPD people wheeze and hurt.

If you want to eat less dairy, swap lactose for milk options like soy, almond, or oat milk.

Processed Meats

Companies often add nitrates to cured meats and cold cuts to give them color and make them last longer on the shelf. But these nitrates have been shown to cause more people with COPD to have to go back to the hospital.

To eat less processed meat, stay away from cold meat or look for products that say “no nitrates added” on the label.


People with lung disease should not drink soda because it can hurt them in many ways. Soda is fizzy with carbon dioxide, which can make you gassy and bloated, which makes it hard to breathe. The high sugar level can also make inflammation worse and cause weight gain, both of which can make COPD symptoms worse.

If you want to drink less soda, try tea, flavored water, natural juice, or other sweetened drinks that don’t have carbonation.




Fried Foods

Fried foods, like onion rings and french fries, have bad fats that can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable by pressing on your stomach. Over time, eating a lot of cooked foods can cause your cholesterol to rise and make you gain weight. Also, the bloating can be painful on your lungs. These things can make lung disease signs worse for people who already have it.

If you want to eat less cooked food, stay away from fast food and drive-thru meals.



Lung-Damaging Foods to Avoid



These five foods have been proven to have negative effects on lung function.

White Bread

Simple carbs, like white bread, are bad for you because they make your muscles work harder to break them down. Changing these simple carbs to complex carbs made from whole grains can help your lungs stay healthy.

Potato Chips

There is a lot of salt and fatty fat in potato chips, which are both bad for your lungs. Trans and saturated fats are bad for your heart and can make your blood pressure go up. Chips’ salt can also make it harder to breathe because it makes you hold on to water.


First and foremost, chocolate has caffeine in it, which can make medications less effective or speed up the heart rate. Plus, chocolate is mostly sugar and not very good for you, so people with lung disease shouldn’t eat it.


In general, alcohol can increase inflammation in the lungs. For those with poor lung health, beer is a bad choice specifically because itโ€™s also carbonated and can cause bloating, which puts extra pressure on the lungs and can make it harder to breathe.


Cold Cuts

Nitrates found in processed cold cuts have been linked to lung damage and making COPD symptoms worse. If you want to eat meat, fish and chicken are better choices because they are leaner.


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