Conclusion Taking certain dietary supplements, such as vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, omega-3s, zinc and selenium, can also help promote lung health, especially among those with lung diseases such as COPD, asthma and certain forms of cancer. Nutrition is very important for the 15.7 million people in the United States diagnosed with COPD. According to the COPD Foundation, people with COPD may need 430-720 more calories per day than other people because of the effort required to breathe. In fact, 25-40% of people with COPD also suffer from malnutrition, which interferes with their long-term prognosis.
According to one study, individuals with the highest vitamin A intake had a 52% lower risk of developing COPD. Magnesium supports lung function, but some COPD medications may interfere with the body's ability to absorb it. Care should also be taken when taking magnesium supplements for COPD, as it can interfere with some medications and cause side effects. Calcium can help lung function, but some COPD medications can cause people to lose calcium.
This makes it even more important for people with COPD to consider increasing calcium-rich foods in their diet. If a person is not able to meet their calcium needs through diet, it may be necessary to take a calcium supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in lung function and are also known anti-inflammatory agents, says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, RDN, outpatient clinical nutritionist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio. She adds: "If you have inflammation in the lungs, it's going to impede breathing.
Foods rich in antioxidants and healthy fats can also curb inflammation in the lungs and protect lung cells from further damage, he adds. Calcium aids lung function and is also important for bone health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, oily fish, nuts and other whole foods provide the nutrients needed for optimal lung health. However, if you already have COPD or another chronic lung condition, there are two vitamins that can help promote lung tissue repair.
Antioxidants are compounds that can counteract unstable molecules called free radicals that damage cells, including lung cells, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Some traditional and alternative health advocates recommend ginseng supplements for COPD to help strengthen the lungs. The reason smoking is so likely to cause chronic lung disease is that it causes severe oxidative damage to the lungs. Regular exercise, diaphragmatic breathing, adequate hydration and good nutrition can improve lung health.
Vitamin A, the fat-soluble nutrient, is the second most important nutrient for improving lung health. In addition to the importance of this vitamin for lung function, it is also responsible for the development of many tissues and cells, as well as embryonic lung development. In many chronic lung conditions, lung damage and inflammation are caused by free radicals and toxins introduced by tobacco and other sources.