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RESPIRATORY DISORDERS

FOODS THAT HARM

  • Alcohol
  • Fatty fried food

    FOODS THAT HEAL

  • Tomatoes
  • Cantaloupes
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Lean meat
  • Oysters
  • Yogurt
  • Whole grain
  • Garlic
  • Chiles
  • Horseradish

    FOODS TO LIMIT

  • Milk
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Onions

    WHO’S AFFECTED

  • Smokers
  • Those exposed to dust or chemicals
    Respiratory disorders range from colds and flu, which are usually minor infections, to chronic diseases, such as asthma, which are much more problematic
    Any condition that affects the passage of air to and from the lungs should be taken seriously
    Four of the more common respiratory disorders are: bronchitis, an inflammation of the tubes that carry air to and from the lungs, which is marked by a relentless cough and thick phlegm; emphysema, also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which causes shortness of breath and is usually a consequence of smoking; pneumonia, caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, or toxic substances, which leads to a cough, fever, chills, and chest pain; and sinusitis, an inflammation of the membranes lining the sinus cavities, which results in a stuffed-up feeling and a deep, dull headache

    Nutrition Connection

    A nutritious and well-balanced diet can help prevent or reduce the severity of bronchitis, pneumonia, and other lung infections
    Follow these guidelines: Drink plenty of fluids
    Adequate fluid intake, particularly of warm liquids like chicken broth or hot tea, helps to thin mucus and make breathing easier
    Hot tea contains theophylline, a compound believed to ease breathing by relaxing the smooth muscles in the walls of the airways
    Fill your plate with antioxidant foods
    Vitamins A, and C, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants help protect lung tissue from the cellular damage caused by free radicals; build and repair epithelial tissues, which protect the respiratory system from bacteria; and help build immunity against lung disease
    Tomatoes, cantaloupes, and green leafy vegetables are great sources of these vitamins
    Balance zinc content
    Zinc, found in lean meat, oysters, yogurt, and whole grain products, is important for boosting immunity, especially against upper respiratory infections
    But consuming more than 40 mg per day can depress your immune system, making you more susceptible to infection
    Spice it up
    Some foods, herbs, and spices, are natural decongestants
    These include garlic, onions, chiles, horseradish, ginger, thyme, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon
    Limit milk
    In one study, patients with chronic sinusitis reported improvement after eliminating milk products from their diets
    5+ apples a week was strongly associated with increased lung function, according to researchers
    Reduce fatty, fried food
    Fats, like those in fried food remain in the stomach longer because they require more time to digest and may crowd the lungs longer than other types of foods, making those with emphysema feel uncomfortable
    Pass on the gas
    Anything that causes gas and bloating should also be limited because it may make breathing difficult
    common offenders include beans and other legumes, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and onions
    Eat small, frequent meals
    People with emphysema generally feel better if they eat smaller, more frequent meals
    Consuming too much at one time can increase the volume in the stomach and crowd the already distended lungs
    Slow down
    To further avoid gas and ease digestion, don’t rush; have small servings and eat slowly
    Avoid alcohol
    Alcohol lowers immunity and should be avoided during any infection
    Because chronic bronchitis and emphysema predispose a person to develop lung infections, it’s a good idea to abstain from all alcoholic beverages

    Beyond the Diet

    Here are some tips that can help ease the symptoms of respiratory ailments: Quit smoking
    Smoking is by far the leading cause of chronic respiratory disorders, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer
    Also try to avoid secondhand smoke and air pollutants
    Try aromatherapy
    A soothing means of relieving lung problems is to inhale the steam from a bowl of hot water that contains a few drops of highly concentrated essential oils
    A combination of eucalyptus, thyme, pine, and lavender oils is often recommended to ease bronchitis
    Eucalyptus oil is particularly good for relieving the feeling of congestion and may be helpful to people with emphysema
    Humidify
    Heat and dry air can produce swollen, dry nasal membranes that are predisposed to sinusitis
    A humidifier may be a simple solution

    Special Feature

    INFLAMMATION:
    Eat to Quell the Dangers
    Inflammation is your body’s alarm system
    Sort of like how an ankle swells when you twist it, other parts of your body—even internal ones—will swell in response to injury, exposure to chemicals, or viruses
    Doctors are just now beginning to understand that inflammation can have several other health consequences
    Research has led experts to believe that inflammation plays a role in heart disease, cancer, and diabetes
    However, certain foods may help heal inflammation: Berries and cherries
    These sweet fruits help reduce inflammation by neutralizing free radicals in the body and may also help stop tissue inflammation
    Bran cereal
    Fiber from bran cereal is associated with less inflammation in women with type 2 diabetes
    And the Physicians’ Health Study found that doctors who ate whole grain cereal every day were 28% less likely to have heart failure over 24 years—an effect that may be linked to reduced inflammation
    Bright vegetables
    Choose deep orange, red, or yellow vegetables, which are full of carotenoids, anti-inflammatory antioxidants
    Chamomile
    Germans use chamomile as a universal healer, referring to it as alles zutraut, or “capable of anything
    ” As an anti-inflammatory, chamomile works like an NSAID—think ibuprofen or aspirin
    Chicken soup
    When a researcher from the Nebraska Medical Center tested chicken soup in the lab, he found that it could reduce inflammation and congestion caused by virus-fighting immune system agents called neutrophils by about 75%
    Canned chicken soup worked, too
    Cloves
    An aromatic spice common in Indian cooking, cloves contain an anti- inflammatory chemical called eugenol
    In recent animal studies, this chemical inhibited COX-2, an enzyme that spurs inflammation
    Flaxseed
    Flaxseed is rich in alpha linolenic-acid, which the body uses to make the same type of omega-3 fatty acids you get from fish
    Like fish, it guards against inflammation in the body
    Ginger
    Ginger has been used for thousands of years to help with a variety of ailments, from stomachaches to arthritis to heart conditions because of its anti- inflammatory effect
    It may play a role in preventing and slowing the growth of cancer as well easing migraines by blocking inflammatory substances called prostaglandins
    Green tea
    Used for centuries for a variety of medicinal purposes, green tea is an excellent source of polyphenols, which may help reduce free radicals in the body that can cause inflammation
    Nuts
    An excellent source of vitamin E, consuming nuts together with fish oil seems to boost the body’s ability to fight inflammation beyond what either nutrient would do on its own, according to two animal studies
    Olive oil
    Olive oil contains antioxidants called polyphenols, which research suggests help to reduce inflammation in the blood vessels and in the brain
    Look for virgin olive oil—it retains more of the polyphenols than heavily processed variants
    Orange juice
    When researchers fed volunteers either glucose-sweetened water or OJ, the sweet water triggered an inflammatory response but the OJ did not
    The researchers credit the effect to the juice’s vitamin C content and various flavonoids
    Choose 100% juice made from frozen concentrate, which has more vitamin C than fresh squeezed after four weeks of storage
    Pomegranates
    These fruits are especially high in antioxidants, such as ellagic acid, that reduce inflammation
    That may explain why pomegrantes have been shown in studies to reverse the progression of coronary heart disease
    Sage
    This anti-inflammatory herb has also been shown in some research to boost memory and reduce swelling
    Salmon
    Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids—a family of fats that helps, put the brakes on inflammation
    Studies suggest that increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids can help quell symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
    Soy
    Soy is packed with isoflavones, plant hormones with anti-inflammatory properties
    An Oklahoma State study found that people with knee pain reported less discomfort and used fewer pain meds after eating soy protein every day for 3 months
    Turmeric
    Curcumin, the chemical responsible for turmeric’s yellow color, helps to quell the inflammation that contributes to cancer growth
    Scientists are also studying curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effect on cystic fibrosis
    Wine
    Vino drinking has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and it could be due to an anti-inflammatory effect
    But don't overdo it
    Heavy drinking has been linked to cancer
  • Inflammation can lead to chronic conditions including diabetes and cancer
  • Inflammation of internal organs and the circulatory system has been linked to heart disease
  • Many foods, including nuts, fruits, and spices can help cool inflammation