13 Incredible Foods to Boost Lung Health

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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There are many different foods that can help our body and promote health in various ways. Foods to boost lung health, for example, include beans, salmon, spinach, pumpkin, blueberries, collard greens, ginger, carrots, garlic, oranges, and many more!

Importance of Lung Health

One of the most important and constantly used organs in our body are the lungs, making them crucial to protect. While other organ systems are somewhat less essential for our daily survival, lungs are constantly working hard to provide oxygen to our body, even while we sleep. Despite the importance of these life-giving organs, many people consciously or unknowingly put their lungs in danger every day, whether in the form of smoking, industrial pollution, poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle habits, unresolved health issues, and many more. Many people don’t realize the extent to which lung disease threatens the human population; tens of millions of people suffer from some sort of lung disease around the world, and they kill millions of people every year. Asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, allergies, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and dozens of other afflictions put us at risk all the time, but fortunately, there are ways to avoid shortening your life (and breath).

Lung cleansing techniques, quitting smoking, reducing exposure to all forms of air pollution, and many other strategies can be explored to improve the health of your lungs, and many of them are quite effective. However, one of the most important parts of lung health comes in an unusual form – our diet. For some reason, people don’t immediately associate their dietary behavior with the function of their lungs, but the two are closely connected. Your diet can be one of the quickest and most effective ways to boost your lung health and protect yourself from lung diseases of all varieties. Now, let’s dig a bit deeper into some of the best foods to boost lung health.

Foods to Boost Lung Health

Some of the foods to boost lung health are listed below:


Hydration is key for overall health, and while having “water in your lungs” is not a good thing, ensuring that your body has enough water is crucial to lung health. The elimination of toxins and the efficiency of lung function is based on there being enough water in the lung’s cells and tissues. As is so often the case, human health always begins and ends with water!


While all fruits are helpful for lung health due to their high vitamin C content, apples are particularly rich in antioxidants, and also boast a good deal of fiber. There has been direct research showing that apples can help lower your risk of lung cancer. These fruits are also known to help relieve asthma symptoms.

As it turns out, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, particularly a lung specialist.


There are many nutrients in beans that make them an important part of our diet, but the folate content is particularly important. Research published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition has linked low folate levels with COPD, one of the most common and dangerous lung conditions. Folate levels in black beans, lentils, and other legumes are concentrated and easy to incorporate into your diet.


Omega-3 fatty acids have been scientifically linked to anti-inflammatory activity throughout the body, and many of the specific organs, including the lungs. Asthma can be very debilitating, but the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities of omega-3 fatty acids, found in high supply in salmon, mackerel, nuts, and seeds, can help reduce the symptoms and protect against attacks.


This superfood makes it onto most “must-eat” food lists, and with good reason. The rich supply of antioxidants, polyphenols, anthocyanins, vitamin E and other powerful organic compounds, these tiny blueberries help keep you safe from cancer.


Ginger is one of the most commonly known and widely trusted lung-boosting foods because of its ability to detoxify the body and cleanse the airways. Ginger has long been used to remove toxins from the respiratory tracts, many of which can lead to more serious lung issues. Research also suggests that there is a compound called zerumbone in ginger, which helps in inhibiting the growth of lung cancer.


Like most other cruciferous vegetables, kale is packed with beneficial compounds and nutrients for our body. Aside from its rich fiber content, kale contains special phytonutrients that help defend our body against the development of cancerous cells. The active organic compounds in kale also help decrease oxidative stress in the cells and organs of our body, reducing the risk of cancer.


There are many health benefits of garlic, but one of the most important relates to the production of a certain enzyme that the flavonoids in garlic stimulate. This enzyme increases the efficiency of the body and lungs to rid itself of toxins and carcinogens, making garlic a flavorful and effective means of detoxifying and protecting the lungs.


Carotenoids have been associated with reduced occurrences of lung cancer in a number of research studies, and one of the best sources for carotenoids is carrots!

Research in the Nutrition Research and Practice journal suggests that carrot juice contains beta-carotene or purified β-carotene. These carotenoids have great antioxidant potential and they help in preventing cancer.


Guava leaves have long been used for their medicinal benefits. They help prevent cancer and also possess certain antiviral properties that keep the lungs healthy, particularly against pneumonia – a common lung disease. Guava fruit is also a provider of a huge amount of vitamin C per serving, so adding this exotic fruit to your diet is a must if you’re susceptible to lung infections.


You don’t see pumpkins on too many best food lists, but the concentrated sources of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and various carotenoids make these seasonal foods ideal to protect lung health. Many of the nutrients in pumpkins have been identified and linked to lower levels of oxidative stress and therefore, lower chances of lung cancer.


Flaxseed has been linked to the number of lung benefits, including an increase in lung tissue regeneration and repair, and even added strength to prevent future damage. Research has shown that it has been very helpful following radiation therapy for lung cancer and has sped up the healing process. Adding flaxseed to your diet, whether your lungs are currently healthy or not, is a very wise choice.


The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has been linked many times to lower risks of cancer. The antioxidant potential is well known, but the anti-inflammatory capacity of this spice is also impressive and helps with asthma and other common lung infections.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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