12 Foods That Can Fight Lung Inflammation

Load your plate with these lung-healthy foods. Antioxidants and other properties in them could ease inflammation and help you breathe easier.




flax seeds close-up



There are two types of polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3s and omega-6s, and researchsuggests the human body was designed to run on an equal balance of both. When that balance tips to too many omega-6s, it could cause inflammation. Western diets often dish out more than ten times as many omega-6s—which are in refined vegetable oils common in processed foods—as omega-3s, which could explain why adding omega-3s can help fight inflammation. Flaxseeds are another good source of omega-3s, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Throwing flaxseeds into your bowl of cereal in the morning is an easy way to up your intake, says Asha Devereaux, MD, MPH, a pulmonologist in Coronado, California, and co-chair of the American Thoracic Society’s Integrative Therapy interest group.




Close up of salmon fillet. Macro. Whole background.

There are three main omega-3s—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). EPA and DHA are the primary omega-3s that help with inflammation and they can be found in fatty fish and supplements. Dr. Devereaux recommends eating the seafood, rather than popping fish oil pills. “All supplements should be chewed in the foods they came in,” she says. “The Mediterranean diet is two to three servings of fish, not taking the supplement.” And more isn’t necessarily better; for example, people with COPD might only be able to digest a limited amount of omega-3s, and going overboard could make it break down, says Dr. Devereaux, who suggests eating fish twice a week.



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