Foods for Healthy Lungs: Good and Bad Diet for Lungs

11foods for healthy lungs to breath better
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We may forget the fact that the lungs are a critical organ that helps us stay alive. Though it works fine for the majority of us, a few have been suffering without good lung health. 

Lungs have a crucial role in rinsing off carbon dioxide present in your body and oxygenating the blood. It also supplies oxygen to muscles, organs, and joints so that everything functions well in your body. Apart from this, it contributes to keeping your immune system strong. 

When it can naturally keep working to help our lives, there are a few things we can do to increase lung capacity. Let’s learn about healthy food for the lungs.  

8 Healthy Foods for Lungs

Many things also contribute to lung health. Let us now look at the foods that keep the lungs in good health.

  1. Oranges 

Oranges are rich in Vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant, protecting the lung tissue from any damage that free radicals can cause. Lungs are usually susceptible to inflammation, and the anti-inflammatory components in the oranges, along with vitamin C, can play a part in reducing the inflammation. 

It helps in the proper functioning of your respiratory system and lowers the risk of COPD. Since it is a hydrating fruit, it’ll keep the mucous membranes moist to help them clear from the airways. 

  1. Mushrooms

Mushrooms have antioxidants such as ergothioneine and selenium, which protect the lung tissue from oxidative stress. It also protects the tissue from damage that may be caused by environmental toxins and pollutants. 

Mushrooms with beta-glucans and polysaccharides, such as oysters, can aid in regulating the immune system. The better the immune system, the more it will help reduce inflammation and defend against respiratory infections.  

  1. Blueberry 

Another highly rich antioxidant, blueberry, has a flavonoid called anthocyanin that prevents lung inflammation and oxidative damage.

It has other essential components such as petunidin, malvidin, peonidin, and cyanidin that aid in protecting the lung tissue from any damage. Due to their high antioxidant component, any damage caused by free radicals will be prevented by these rich blue-coloured berries. 

They are also prone to reducing the decline of lung function as we age. So have more of them in your diet! 

  1. Tomatoes 

With tomatoes, you can get rid of airway inflammation with a carotenoid known as lycopene. So those who eat more than two tomatoes per day are seen to have less decline in lung functioning compared to those who don’t eat twice a day. With the vitamin C content present in it, it can also reduce inflammation. The chances of you observing greater lycopene are high when you eat cooked tomatoes, so try including that in your diet. 

  1. Broccoli 

Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous family, where you can also find cauliflower. The content called sulforaphane is dear to a gene present in lung cells. This compound, sulforaphane, can increase the gene activity that prevents damage from the toxins.

If you eat broccoli with other veggies, such as kale, they add vitamin C to the body and lower the lung cancer risk. The antioxidant sulforaphane is known to prevent illness and infection in the lungs and improve the immune system.

You may need to add more of these to your bowl. 

  1. Pumpkins 

Carotenoids present in pumpkins have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which give comfort and boost overall health; they also improve lung function.

It also has flavonoids, which are antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals and lower inflammation.

  1. Leafy Greens 

Greens come to the rescue, regardless of any disease. Specifically for lung health, it has carotenoids, vitamins, iron, potassium, and calcium to extract the goodness. They have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components that will lower the inflammation in the lungs and promote good overall health. 

  1. Yogurt 

Yogurt is one such food with rich nutrients such as selenium, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium, which aid in boosting lung function. It also helps an individual with COPD risk.  

It has also been proven by a study that the increased content of these nutrients, namely potassium, phosphorus, and selenium, has helped in the improved functioning of the lungs. 

4 Worst Foods for Lungs 

As we got introduced to a few of the good foods, let’s talk about a few that you need to avoid for healthy lungs. 

  1. Potato chips 

The increased level of salt leads to high water retention in our body, which excessively creates bloating. The increased amount of saturated fats increases the inflammation that happens to the lung tissue, including the entire body. Saturated fat and salt have a high impact on the functioning of the lungs. 

  1. White bread 

White bread is high in sugars that your body quickly uses for energy. This process creates carbon dioxide, a gas your lungs normally remove when you breathe. While white bread itself doesn’t directly make your lungs work extra hard, if you have lung problems, the extra CO2 might make breathing slightly more difficult.

If you already have lung issues, eating white bread can just worsen them. If people consume high glycemic foods excessively in their diet, they are seen as more prone to lung cancer. You need to avoid white bread for its high glycemic index. 

  1. Processed meats 

Processed meats come with more additives to increase the shelf life of a food. Meat includes bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and ham. These foods can increase the risk of COPD. The potential for lung cancer is higher as processed food contains sodium nitrate, a carcinogen that increases the cancer risk in the body. 

  1. Chocolates and sweets 

High inflammation is observed with foods that have a high sugar content in them. Over time, your body’s ability to absorb vitamin C will reduce, which is essential for building immunity. 

Despite having high-vitamin C foods, you’ll still find none of them being absorbed into your body with high-sugar foods. Sugars are also found in many dairy products. This diary content, on the other hand, increases the component phlegm. Due to this, the mucus gets thickened, which can be bad for your lung health. 


It’s only possible to live healthy when all our organs are supportive. The lung is one such major organ that needs proper care. Don’t wait until something rings a bell to take a crucial step.

If you have already been diagnosed with lung issues or are concerned about preventing your health from being damaged, Fitness With Nidhi can assist you with a diet for healthy lungs. A personalized diet plan where you will see your lungs getting better over time. We also help you in timely checking your diet for any adjustments. Contact us! 

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About the author

Nidhi Gupta is an ACE certified personal trainer and nutritionist with over 10 years of experience helping people reach their fitness goals. She is passionate about helping people live healthier lives and loves sharing her knowledge and expertise with others. Get in touch with her to learn more about how she can help you on your fitness journey.
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