There’s no doubt that smoking affects the lungs and is a leading cause of diseases like lung cancer, emphysema (shortness of breath) and pneumonia (lung infection affecting the air sacs). Not just the lungs, smoking can also affect the heart, brain, mouth, throat and bones.
The good news is that the lungs have the capacity to recover from the ill effects of smoking as soon as one discontinues the habit, together with some lifestyle changes.
Here Are a Few Simple Ways to Improve Your Lung Health.
Secondhand smoking should be strictly avoided as that is also harmful to the lungs. Smoking again after quitting is more dangerous as carcinogens (cancer-causing substances used in cigarettes) then directly attack the healing mucosa (the membrane that surrounds the lungs). At home, windows should be kept open to bring in the fresh air. If the air is polluted, installing an air purifier at home will help remove harmful particles from the air indoors.
Physical activities like jogging, cycling, and swimming are always beneficial, even to a recovering smoker. Ex-smokers can learn to breathe properly if they practice yoga regularly. Exercising helps people stay fit and ensures a steady supply of oxygen to various organs.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Food such as green leafy vegetables and fruits like oranges, bananas, apples, and lemons are known to help the lungs to recover better. Also, antioxidant-rich foods like broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, blueberries, cranberries and grapes help. One should avoid eating fast food, dairy products, and processed meat for some time.
Meditate to Heal the Body
Nicotine present in cigarettes is known to be addictive. Therefore, quitting suddenly often makes smokers restless and increase craving for a puff. In such situations, meditation and massages may help. Meditation can help tackle the stress and craving and a relaxing massage enhances inhaling and exhaling.
Get Screened Regularly
It is also advised that one consult a doctor even after they quit smoking. It is important for an erstwhile heavy smoker (1 packet a day for 30 years) who has quit smoking for the last 10-15 years and aged between 55-70 years to go for screening tests like CT scans. These help in detecting any long-term damage to the lungs and may also reduce mortalities caused by lung cancer.