According to the 2013 Global Burden of Disease Study, air pollution kills more than 3.2 million people each year worldwide. How could something as natural as breathing take your breath away, permanently? When tiny foreign particles enter your bronchial tubes they penetrate and inflame the lungs, leading to respiratory diseases like COPD and asthma. Research shows that there are several foods and drinks that can help clean and clear your airways. Here are five anti-inflammatory foods worth adding to your diet to breathe easier:
1. Olive oil: Olive oil contains alpha-tocopherol, a type of vitamin E, that has been shown to improve lung function. This oil also contains monounsaturated fatty acids that can help reduce inflammation. Make olive oil your cooking oil of choice the next time you’re in the kitchen to get more in your diet.
2. Flaxseeds: Studies have shown that anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of phytoestrogens can significantly reduce asthma and allergy symptoms. Secoisolariciresinol, a type of phytoestrogen, is found in many foods, including flaxseeds. The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds are also linked to reduced asthma risk. Get more of these seeds daily by adding them to smoothies or on top of salads.
3. Fruits and vegetables: It doesn’t matter what kind you eat, just eat more of them! They are rich in antioxidants that can fix damage caused by air pollution. Broccoli, in particular, has been shown in studies to help you breathe easier. Try to have a fruit or vegetable with each meal daily.
4. Tomato sauce: Lycopene, the antioxidant found in foods like tomatoes, has been shown to help protect against asthma brought on by exercise. Instead of increasing your pasta intake, eat more fresh tomatoes.
5. White wine: If you are taking medication for your respiratory issues, alcohol may be strictly prohibited. If you are not, you may be surprised to learn that studies show people who drink wine, particularly white wine, have healthier lungs. This is likely due to wine being high in antioxidants thanks to the grapes used.