Poor Air Quality Index? Here Are Quick Tips To Protect and Cleanse Your Lungs
The air quality index (AQI) in India, especially in Mumbai, is at its worst. It can seriously affect the health of children, adults, and even senior citizens, particularly those with existing lung conditions like lung cancers, respiratory issues, emphysema, and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Our lungs are one of the most vital organs of the human body. We can live without food and water for a while, but without oxygen, we die. And if we don’t maintain the health of this main organ involved with the respiratory system, it can be detrimental.
Here is a lung cleanse plan, simple concoctions, tea/juice recipes, and lifestyle tips that you and your family can adopt to break down excess mucus, clear your respiratory airways and aid relief.
Don’t go outside.
It is common sense. Before you say be practical. Let me tell you – be practical, but also be smart. Your lungs are made of tissues that get damaged every time you are exposed to air particles and pollutants. Overexposure to this can cause upper respiratory and breathing issues. Your immune system starts accumulating mucus to trap these pollutants and particles to get rid of them. This may explain why the mucous is yellow or green when we cough it out or have a runny nose. Prevention is better than cure. If you can avoid going outside, don’t go.
Top foods that are scientifically recorded for better lung health.
Add these to your meals:
- Raw unprocessed honey, not just any organic honey. Ensure to never give it to infants because it can be fatal or toxic. But it is safe to consume for kids over the age of three, provided you keep your pediatrician or healthcare expert in the loop. Have 1 teaspoon of raw unprocessed honey to reduce mucus in the lungs and strengthen lung tissues. Shop for it here.
- Pumpkin, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables. Puree them into warm soups that combine the goodness of immunity-boosting veggies. These are great for kids as well as adults and senior citizens.
- Almonds and walnuts are fabulous for lung health, thanks to the Omega-3s and rich saturated fatty acids.
- Black tea, green tea, matcha tea, and black coffee is good for your lungs because it’s anti-inflammatory. Of course, don’t give it to your kids.
What foods to avoid?
Here are foods that you need to cut down on because these create inflammation and promote mucus formation.
- Refined white sugar
- White bread, refined flour
- Processed junk foods
- Packaged foods
Don’t run, cycle, work out, or practice pranayama in the open air.
Whatever activity or breathing exercises you want to practice, do it in the comfort and safety of your home with the windows closed. And if you have an air purifier, that’s even better. You can practice gentle and deep breathing.
Now is the time to have them. Not hot or piping hot, keep it warm. People think the hotter the liquid, the better it is for their lungs. Avoid doing this, because you can create esophageal damage. Lukewarm, warm, or gently hot is what you should aim for.
Keep your healthcare provider in the loop for your symptoms, and don’t try to treat yourself or your kids and aged parents at home. It could be a virus, bacterial infection, pneumonia, bronchitis, or any other condition. Allopathy can prevent your lung condition from getting worse. Make lifestyle changes over and above them.
The Magic Lung Cleanse
While we may not have full control over the quality of the air we breathe, we do have control over what we can do to cleanse our lungs and help the body expel toxins through simple methods.
One effective way of doing this is Team Luke’s specially designed Magic Lung Cleanse plan.
A. Lung cleanse:
- The night before you begin your cleanse plan:
- Soak a tablespoon of fenugreek (methi) seeds in a half cup of water.
- On the day of the cleanse:
- Wake up to 250ml warm water with lemon and just a dash of cayenne pepper.
- Drink the fenugreek water and chew on the seeds.
- 10 minutes later
- Crush two cloves of garlic and consume it with a tablespoon of raw organic honey or manuka honey.
- Steam Time
- Boil some water and pour it into a large bowl.
- Add 5 to 10 drops of pure eucalyptus oil or a drop of peppermint oil.
- Cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam gently, deeply, and slowly for five minutes.
- At breakfast
- Have 300 ml fresh carrot juice with a teaspoon of pure cold-pressed virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper into it.
- An hour or two after breakfast: Practice THIS Magic Lung Breathing Exercise
- Stand. Keep your arms at your sides, your feet slightly apart, and relax.
- Inhale a few deep breaths from your mouth and exhale through your nose.
- Now breathe in through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth until you cannot exhale anymore. Do NOT stop here because there is still air remaining in your lungs. The air that remains in the lungs and is not replaced as we breathe is called residual air)
- Force your diaphragm to exhale all the air from your lungs with wheezing. Exhale through the mouth several times with a ho, ho, ho, ho sound until you feel there is no more air in the lungs. At this point, you will feel as if you have pulled your belly in towards the spine.
- Through your nose, slowly inhale fresh and clean air. Fill your lungs with air completely and then hold your breath for six seconds. Count slowly.
- Exhale through your mouth until there is no air left in your lungs and repeat the ha, ha, ha, ha to expel the stale air out of the lungs. Repeat the whole procedure as many times as you like.
- How does this help?
Besides purifying the lungs, this exercise strengthens and tones your stomach over time. It will also give your skin a radiant glow as you expel excess carbon dioxide from your body through this technique.
Magic Lung Tea
After your breathing exercise, prepare a liter of the following concoction and have one warm cup of it.
- 1-inch piece of ginger or 1 tsp of dried ginger powder
- A small Ceylon cinnamon stick or 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1⁄2 tsp basil (tulsi) leaves (dry or fresh)
- 1 tsp oregano leaves (dry or fresh)
- 3 peppercorns
- 2 crushed cardamom (elaichi)
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves (crushed, optional)
- 1/4th tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- A pinch of carom seeds (ajwain)
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds(jeera)
- Boil all ingredients for 10 minutes and let it simmer. Reduce it to half.
- Strain and sip warm.
- Once it cools a little, you can add raw organic honey or jaggery to sweeten it.
- MID-MORNING (only if hungry)
- 1 fruit. Preferably pineapple as the bromelain content in it helps loosen up mucus topped with 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds. The seeds can be soaked overnight to get rid of the anti-nutrients.
- Lunch: As usual (keep it simple and balanced)
- 30 minutes post-lunch
- 250 ml lemon water with a dash of cayenne pepper
- EVENING (2 to 2.5 hours after lunch)
- 300 ml fresh carrot juice with 1 tsp cold-pressed virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil and 1⁄4 tsp black pepper and a few drops of lemon, along with the evening snack.
- 30 minutes later
- Magic Lung Breathing Exercise followed by a cup of Magic Lung Tea.
- Go for a light walk or yoga after
- 30 minutes before dinner
- 250 ml lemon water with cayenne pepper.
- DINNER – as usual (simple, balanced, and light) + 300 ml carrot juice as given above
- 30 minutes post-dinner
- One more cup of Magic Lung Tea.
- Steam time
An hour before bed, engage in steam inhalation with 5-10 drops of eucalyptus oil for five minutes.
- Follow this with a Castor oil pack or rub
- Steps to follow
- Warm a cup of good-quality castor oil (cold-pressed)
- Soak a flannel in it and squeeze it.
- Place it over the chest or lung area for 20 to 30 mins.
- You can use a heating pad over it if needed. This helps to loosen the chest mucus.
- Alternatively, you can also rub warm castor oil deeply and gently into your chest area. Lie down and put 2-3 drops of the oil in your belly button/navel area and rub some oil within a 1 or 2-inch perimeter around the belly button. It will soak in automatically.
- Before bed
- Repeat the Magic Lung Breathing Exercise, meditate and sleep well.
B. Additional recipes to reduce lung congestion
● Recipe no. 1:
- 2 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1-inch piece of ginger
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 tsp of dried oregano
- Boil this into a tea in 1L water till it is 500ml and sip on it.
● Recipe no. 2:
- 1 to 2 medium-sized carrot
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves
- 1-inch ginger
- A dash of cayenne pepper
- 4 to 5 mint leaves
- A dash of oregano
- Blend into a juice and sip slowly.
C. Other lifestyle changes you can make:
Did you know the pollution in the air also depletes certain vitamins and minerals from your body? And this makes it even more crucial for us to replenish them either through foods or supplements. Some of these vitamins and minerals include:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
- Omega 3
The poor quality air may also deplete iron levels which reflects low hemoglobin levels. Here are the top 10 iron-rich foods to boost hemoglobin:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Garden cress seeds (Halim seeds)
- Kulekhara leaves (Hygrophila plant)
- Dark organic jaggery
- Black raisins
- Pair iron-rich foods with Vitamin C-rich foods for maximum absorption.
- Avoid tea or coffee when you have iron-rich foods as they block its absorption.
- Having calcium-rich food with iron-rich food also hampers iron absorption as both calcium and iron have the same binding site for absorption.
- A glass of overnight copper-treated water can boost iron absorption.
- The use of cast iron vessels in cooking helps boost hemoglobin.
- Try to make the base for most of your curries, soups, and all meal preparations from tomato, garlic, ginger, onion, black pepper, turmeric, and either cold-pressed coconut oil or pure A2 ghee.
Additional note: It is usually best to rely on whole foods as much as possible, but if the situation is worse and you have a lot of congestion in the lungs, get ‘bromelain’ which is pineapple extract. It helps improve respiratory function and congestion due to the build-up of mucus and toxins. It is surely worth a try.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Can anyone do this lung cleanse?
A. Our lungs are constantly exposed to the toxic pollutants accumulated in our environment. Many times, we don’t realize these pollutants are burdening our lungs and slowing them down. So, our lungs need this detox. Anyone can do this lung cleanse. We believe everyone should give this a chance.
Q. I am Jain. We do not eat carrots. Can I replace it with anything else?
A. Carrots are a significant part of the lung cleanse as they possess some peculiar properties that are meant to offload the lungs. It is irreplaceable in this case. However, you can avoid carrot juice and do green vegetable juice instead. Don’t miss adding the coconut oil and the black pepper to it. That is important for the lungs too. Please follow the rest of the cleanse as it is.
Q. How often can we do this cleanse?
A. You can do it once a week or once in 15 days. If you have any respiratory disorders like asthma, COPD, bronchitis, and so on, doing it once a week would benefit you.
Q. What if carrots are not in season?
A. You can use the regular orange carrots widely available throughout the year. It is best to get the organic ones. Wash them with hot water using apple cider vinegar liquid before juicing.
Q. Do we have to mix garlic with honey or have both ingredients separately?
A. Mixing would be better as it will make the garlic palatable.
Q. What strength of Manuka honey do you advise?
A. Manuka honey of 12/15 UMF is advisable as they are effective against a wide range of resistant bacteria.
Q. Can we switch castor oil or eucalyptus oil with something else?
A. No, it is better to stick to castor oil and eucalyptus or peppermint oil as they have specific effects in the cleansing process. If we change the oils, the purpose of the cleanse will not be met.
Q. Will the magic lung tea increase heat in the body?
A. The purpose of magic lung tea is to produce a little heat in the body and loosen up the mucus while improving immunity.
Q. Can I have dairy products like yogurt during the cleanse?
A. No, we go off dairy and gluten completely during the cleanse. So, no milk/yogurt/buttermilk/paneer and no wheat/rye/barley (gluten grains). These foods can trigger mucus production. It is the same with refined sugar, corn, soy, and fried foods.
Q. Is it okay to use red chili pepper instead of cayenne pepper?
A. No. We need to use cayenne pepper. It serves a specific purpose in this cleanse. It helps break down and move the congested mucous, thus cleaning up the lungs. Do not replace it with anything else.
Q. I cannot chew the fenugreek seeds. Can I powder them and add them to my juice?
A. Yes, you can do that. It is equally effective.
Q. What are the after-effects of this cleanse?
A. You may cough a bit as the mucous arises and needs to be evacuated. All the bacterial pathogens come out of it. You will feel lighter and notice that you are breathing better the next day. Some may feel a slight burning sensation after this cleanse (due to a lot of pepper and garlic). But this will settle down in a day or two. Make sure you drink adequate water to cool your body.
Q. Is there an age limit for doing this cleanse?
A. Not really. Kids below 12 years may find it tough. But people above 12 can do this cleanse comfortably.
Q. Should I be drinking extra water during this cleanse?
A. Stick to the regular water recommendation of 2.5 to 3 liters. If you have a restriction, speak to your healthcare provider first.
Q. Can I continue taking my regular medicines or supplements?
A. Yes, you can continue them but make an informed choice and keep your doctor in the loop. All the best! Stay safe and share this as much as you can so that more people benefit from this simple cleanse.
Disclaimer: Make an informed decision. None of what is mentioned in this blog is a replacement for medical advice. Keep your healthcare provider in the loop before adding anything new to your lifestyle, especially if you have an existing medical condition or are taking any medications.
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