How to Clear Your Lungs After Quitting Smoking

The Basics: 

Smoking - Helping HandI think we all can agree that smoking is bad for your health.  For those out there that do smoke you are probably tired of hearing people tell you all the reasons you should quit and I am sure that many of those things go in one ear and out the other.  Ultimately quitting smoking comes down to a personal choice and an amazing will power that allows you to break the nicotine addiction.

One of the main reasons people ultimately do give up cigarettes is the lack of ability to do basic cardio activities.  We're not talking about running a mile, we're talking about walking up a flight of stairs or chasing your kids around the park.  If this is your reason for quitting this article gives you some good news.  soon after you quit your lung function can return to normal and you can do all of the physical activities you want.  Here are some tips on how to get there.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that after 15 years of non-smoking your risk of cancer will return to the levels near those who never smoked at all.  That's great news, but your first concern is how to get your lung function back in the short term.  Studies show that in as little as 24 hours after quitting cigarettes the oxygen levels in your blood begin to return to normal.  The American Lung Association says that your lung function should improve on its own by up to 30 percent in as little as 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting. You should also see an improvement in any shortness of breath in 1 to 9 months.

Smoking Lungs

As your body naturally begins the healing process you can accelerate the process by taking a few of the simple steps outlined below. With a little work on your part you can be back at the park in a few months.

Things to Eat

In general you should eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Both the CDC and the National Cancer Institute recommend that adults eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, especially right after quitting smoking. The antioxidants in produce will help your lungs heal and improve more quickly.  In specific:

Eat plenty of pineapples. The active ingredient in pineapple is bromelin, which helps cleanse your lungs in a cellular level--including increasing elasticity for you to be able to breathe deeper and consume more fresh oxygen.

Eat an apple a day. Consuming this fruit over time will improve your lung function while detoxifying your lungs at the cellular level. Apples contain a high amount of ascorbic acid and magnesium.

Add garlic to your meals. The powerful active ingredient in garlic is allicin. This compound acts by dissolving the toxic mucous left over from smoking, kills bacteria and helps you breathe normally.

Things to Drink

Drink at least 64 ounces of water daily. Your lungs use up moisture with every breath you take, and the toll put on them by smoking makes your lungs work even harder. By providing sufficient fluids to your body, you will help improve your lungs as well.

Drink a cup of green tea every day, preferably 1 hour after dinner. This tea contains the antioxidant catechin, which helps prevent cancer from your previous smoking habits. It also clears up any toxic mucous accumulated over the years, making you breathe easier.

Exercises to Do

Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Aerobic exercise can help strengthen the lungs, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. This means that walking, hiking, biking, swimming, cross-country skiing or taking part in other aerobic activities for 20 to 30 minutes a day can improve your lung function after you quit smoking.

Do yoga breathing exercises. Doing yoga breathing rejuvenates and cleanses lungs of accumulated impurities caused by smoking.  The link above shows how to perform these simple exercises.

What you need to know: 

If you can try to cut back on foods that produce additional mucus, especially dairy products. During your smoking detox your body is already producing the mucus necessary to cleanse the toxins from smoking; additional mucus production will only cause the lungs to work harder and less effectively.

Related Articles:

How the Body Heals Itself After Smoking - a Chart

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