The process of cleansing your lungs might not be easy for everyone. Is the thought of drastically changing your lifestyle terrifying to you? If so, don’t worry and just take one step at a time. Here are five ways to cleanse your lungs after quitting smoking. Introduce at least one the following pieces of advice every week. That way you will gradually strengthen your new habits and your body will adapt quicker.
#1 Air Environment
The bottom line is to avoid smoke and toxins altogether. The first thing is to keep fresh air circulating.
Stay in Ventilated areas
- If possible, try to stay away from smoke and other smokers (while they smoke).
- Consider investing in home air purifiers to remove allergens and small particles from the air. Pick a device with a HEPA filter; it is more efficient than Ozone air cleaners. Besides, the latter may irritate sensitive lungs.
If you’re not allergic to pollen:
- At home, open your windows whenever possible. The point is to be surrounded by fresh air, even at your home.
- Sleeping with open windows will provide access to fresh air for your brain and lungs. If you can’t open the window, open the doors to your bedroom.
Keep your Home Clean
- If you have carpets, have them cleaned in a dry cleaner if they are dirty. Make sure to use the vacuum cleaner as soon as need be.
- Remove dust from your shelves, books, objects. Do it every 2-3 days, because dust is accumulating very quickly.
- Make sure to often clean your home.
- If you have a wood-burning stove or a fireplace, stop using them for a while. The release toxins in the smoke, which is harmful to your lungs.
Good Plants and Bad Pollen
In daylight, green plants absorb carbon dioxide and other pollutants in exchange for oxygen. That leaves us with cleaner and oxygenated air to breathe. Just don’t keep them in your bedroom, because without light, the plants will switch to absorbing oxygen.
But some plants emit pollen, spores and other particles that could be irritating to your lungs. Even if you’re not allergic, go through your household plants and eliminate them.
No problem, many plants are safe, don’t distress lungs and are easy to maintain.
Some examples: Aloe Vera, Spider plant, Snake plants, Chrysanthemum, Seeping Fig, English Ivy, Palm Tree, Peace Lily, and more. Ask for advice at your local flower store.
Use Non-Toxic Household Cleaning Products:
Most of the household cleaning and cosmetic products contain harmful chemicals, providing daily amounts of toxins to your lungs and body, even though research has shown they do not adversely affect the lungs. The most commonly present hazardous substance is ammonia. It irritates the respiratory tract and causes shortness of breath and coughing. Switch to nontoxic products instead. If the only step you take is to get rid of ammonia in your home, you already made yourself a service!
Be aware of scam
A label “natural” does not mean that all ingredients are natural. It simply means that there is a minimum amount of natural ingredients, and the rest can be synthetic.
Also, keep in mind that all that is natural is not necessarily non-toxic. What is healthy for someone else might not be beneficial for you, if you’re allergic. In any case, make it a rule to verify ingredients of cleaning products you use.
Food to Avoid
The reason why you are coughing is the mucus accumulated in your lungs. Therefore you should avoid food that triggers mucus production:
- Processed meat
- Frozen convenience food
- Fast food in general
- Dairies (milk, cheese, and yogurt)
What to Eat
Smoking is one of the factors that generate an acidic pH in your blood. Too much acid in your body fluids is a condition called acidosis. If it goes too far, this could lead to kidney stones or even kidney failure.
To compensate for this, you should eat more alkaline foods.
- Vegetables: root vegetables, leafy greens
- Fruits: apples, bananas, lemons, berries, oranges, watermelons
- Proteins: almonds, chestnuts
- Spices: cinnamon, curry, ginger
Toxins contain free radicals that destroy cells everywhere in your body, including your lungs. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize the excess of free radicals and prevent damage to organs. Here are some examples of antioxidant-rich foods:
- Fruits: Blueberries, cranberries, grapes, blackberries
- Vegetables: artichokes, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes
- Other: green tea, fish, pecans, walnuts
To increase oxygen uptake in your body, you could also add chlorophyll to your diet. It also cleanses blood and tissues.
You could find supplements, but the best quality is in food that contains chlorophyll:
- Juiced wheatgrass
- Blue-green micro-algae
- Sprouted seeds
Staying in good physical shape is essential for providing oxygen to all your organs and your overall health. It helps to deal with your cravings by postponing it even an hour after the physical efforts.
It also releases endorphins, commonly called the feel-good hormones. They relieve pain and generate feelings of pleasure.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends the following:
- 150 minutes per week (30 minutes 5 times a week) of moderate aerobic activity. That can be swimming, walking, gardening
- 75 minutes per week (25 minutes 3 times per week) of vigorous aerobic activity OR strength training. That can be jogging, biking, dancing, or playing soccer.
If you enjoy being surrounded by nature, try doing outdoor sports as much as possible. Football in a park, jogging in woods or swimming in a lake – these are all health improving and relaxing physical activities.
Benefits of yoga are numerous. For ex-smokers, especially women, there are two main reasons to choose yoga.
- You Learn to Breathe Efficiently. You will learn and practice to breathe from your diaphragm. That helps to expand the lung capacity and strengthens belly muscles involved in breathing.
- Your Posture Will Improve. A straight back position provides optimal space for your lungs and muscles to work on breathing.
Yoga is an excellent choice regardless if you’re in good shape or not. There are different types of yoga, starting with the relaxing, meditative styles to the vigorous Ashtanga style. You should avoid Hot Yoga for a while, which consists in vigorous physical activity in high temperature. Your lungs might not be ready for this.
Visit a local Yoga school and ask them, what form would be ideal for your physical condition.
#4 Alternative Home Made Detox
Start your day with a spoon of raw honey (without added sugar). You can also drink it dissolved in a glass of water. Its antibacterial and antiseptic properties will decrease your coughing already after a week.
And honey contains minerals that promote tissue repair.
- Use Cayenne pepper in solid food. It relieves irritation from coughs and sore throats.
- Add 2-3 drops of Oregano oil daily to water, milk or juice. It will stop harmful bacteria (like staphylococcus aureus and pseudomonas aeruginosa) from growing.
Apply Peppermint balm on your chest and back to soothe the respiratory muscles. Menthol is a popular decongestant effective immediately. If you prefer to avoid the smell you can also chew peppermint leaves (but NOT chewing gum).
Add Eucalyptus drops to steam inhalations to remove congestion and mucus. But first, ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions with medications you might take.
Many people feel stressed after quitting smoking. Relax. You are beginning a challenging journey, be kind to yourself.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Many people turn to meditation to deal with their stress and cravings caused by nicotine withdrawal. There are so many options to practice meditation or yoga that you certainly find something that works for you.
In the short run, meditation will help you to calm down. In the long term, you can work on developing mindfulness, an attitude of kindness towards oneself and awareness of one’s actions.
- Massages increase the lymph circulation and help your immunity system to fight toxins in your body.
- During massages, you need to inhale and exhale slowly and deeply, so it’s a great exercise of breathing.
- If respiratory muscles are tense, they will affect breathing in restricting. Massaging them relaxes the muscles and directly improves respiration.
- Plus, it’s a treat.
How Can I Make That Easier?
Have a substitute
After quitting smoking, many people say that they have strong cravings, they become nervous, or they need something to do with their hands. You can have a bracelet or bangle on your wrist to play with, or have some relaxing fidget toy at hand.
Remember Your Goals
Why did you quit smoking?
Write down the reasons why you decided to quit. Note everything you will be able to do as a non-smoker. Have a note ready in your pocket, your desk or wherever is the most practical for you. Every time you have a craving, think about the improvements in your life after you’ve quit smoking.
Here are some examples:
- Maybe you wish to improve your health or be in better shape?
- You want to get rid of the smell all over your things and your place?
- Maybe your partner is bothered by you smoking?
- You don’t want to let your children (or future children) inhale smoke?
- You will save a lot of money
Quit together with a friend and stay in a supportive, nonsmoking environment.
Ask your family and friends to hold you accountable.
Be proud of the everyday improvements you have already achieved!