Pick-Up Date (MM/DD/YYYY)
    Pick Up Date

    Find a store

    Change Store Notice
    Changing your store will remove Rx items from your cart.
    Your Store: Select a store


    The health of your lungs is something that is easily overlooked or taken for granted. While you may desire to have a healthy body overall, how to keep your lungs healthy is something you may not think about very often.


    Yet achieving or maintaining healthy lungs is essential for long-term health and well-being, especially in our current society where exposure to toxins and things that can harm the health of your lungs are so prevalent. Not having healthy lungs can put you at risk for many serious diseases and can greatly impact the quality of your life.


    By practicing healthy lifestyle habits and eating a well-balanced diet that includes a combination of lung-healthy foods, you can take proactive steps toward better lung health and overall well-being. Read on for seven diet and lifestyle tips to keep your lungs in good condition.


    How to Keep Your Lungs Healthy in 7 Steps

    1. Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke

    This is the most important step toward good lung health. According to the CDC, smoking causes about 90% of all lung cancer deaths, and about 80% of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). What's more, cigarette smoking increases the risk of death from all causes in both men and women. That's why quitting smoking (or never starting in the first place) is an essential factor in keeping your lungs healthy. While secondhand smoke is trickier to avoid, it is important to do what you can to limit being in areas where smoking is prevalent.


    2. Engage in regular exercise

    Exercise helps strengthen not only your muscles, but also your heart and lungs. This allows them to work more efficiently and can enhance lung capacity, or how much air they can hold.


    Being physically active may also lower your risk of lung disease. According to the American Lung Association, both cardio (activities that get your heart rate up such as running or jumping) and strength training exercises (activities that target your muscles like weight lifting and push-ups) benefit your lung health. Doing a combination of these exercises throughout the week at a capacity that works for you is good practice for healthy lungs and an overall healthy body.


    3. Try breathing exercises

    Breathing exercises are known for being effective at lowering stress, but they are also great for your lungs. Practicing deep breathing exercises helps strengthen your diaphragm, which is the muscle right below your lungs that helps you breathe. When practiced regularly, they can also train your body to breathe deeper and more efficiently, helping to remove stale air from your lungs and increase oxygen levels.


    Examples of breathing exercises include:


    • Pursed lip breathing, where you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth for twice as long using pursed lips.
    • Belly breathing, where you breathe deeply in through your nose and slowly out through your mouth, paying special attention to how your belly rises and falls with each breath in and breath out.


    4. Stay hydrated

    Being well-hydrated is a lesser-known part of how to keep your lungs healthy. Drinking enough water helps keep your airways moist and supports proper respiratory function. On the flip side, being dehydrated can reduce how well your lungs work. Some signs you are dehydrated could include dark urine, unexplained fatigue or dizziness.


    You can improve your overall hydration by keeping a water bottle on hand and sipping from it frequently throughout the day. For a bit of flavor, try adding some fruit slices. Eating water-rich foods like berries, citrus fruits and watermelon can also help. Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol as they can lead to dehydration.


    5. Reduce your exposure to pollution as much as possible

    Pollution is a type of toxin that, when breathed in, can damage the health of your lungs, especially as you get older. There are many forms of air pollution, and they can be found at various places around your city, home and neighborhood. While it is impossible to avoid pollution completely, there are some steps you can take to lower your exposure, such as:


    • Avoiding exercising or spending long periods of time near urban or other heavy traffic areas.
    • Wearing a face mask if spending time in or around factories, construction sites, waste management facilities or the like.
    • Using an air filtration system in your home.
    • Checking the air quality index of your neighborhood or wherever you plan to spend time, and choosing to spend time outdoors primarily when the air quality score is good (while limiting outdoor time if the score is poor).


    6. Eat plenty of lung healthy foods

    There are many nutrients that help support the health of your lungs. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries, tomatoes and leafy greens, can help protect lung tissues by fighting off free radicals, which are a type of toxin that can harm your body's cells. In fact, research has shown that consuming more tomatoes and other fruits may help delay the decline of lung function in adults, particularly former smokers. Other foods that can help support healthy lung function include high fiber foods like whole grains, nuts, vegetables and beans.


    7. Try lung health supplements

    After focusing on eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, adding supplements to your daily routine can help you get enough nutrients to support the health of your lungs. Some lung health supplements to consider include:


    • Vitamin D. Vitamin D plays an important role in supporting your immune systemResearch has shown that vitamin D can help restrict bacteria and viruses from colonizing into the lungs. This in turn may help reduce airway inflammation and protect from various respiratory diseases.*
    • Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have strong anti-inflammatory properties. A recent study reported that having higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the bloodstream is linked to a slower rate of lung function decline.*


    As with all supplements, it is important to talk with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen and to seek professional guidance on dosing that is right for you.


    The health of your lungs impacts the health of your whole body. By prioritizing lung health through practices like eating healthy foods, not smoking, exercising and taking supplements if needed, you may be able to enjoy a better quality of life and reduce the risk of respiratory conditions.


    Written by: Joanna Foley, RD


    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


    These articles are intended for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in these articles. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise or medication regimen.