Have you ever wondered how your lungs work? Today we are going to go over the respiratory system and how you can breathe easy when you take care of it.
The lungs job is to pull in oxygen when you inhale and expel carbon dioxide as you exhale. Simple, right? It seems that way until you take a step back and look at everything involved with the lungs. Let’s take a look at a few things that may be restricting you of oxygen.
As you breath in, the oxygen you inhaled is picked up by red blood cells and then distributed to each and every cell in your body. The cells take the oxygen and then give the red blood cell a carbon dioxide molecule to carry back to the lungs to be expelled.
Each red blood cell can only carry one molecule at a time. If a red blood cell is carrying another molecule such as a nutrient, toxin, or hormone, then it can’t carry anything else until it drops that molecule off. This means that every time you eat a junky meal full of toxins or consume a carbonated drink, you could be starving your body of oxygen. Ever felt out of breath after eating a meal or having a few beers? Now you know that it is because your red blood cells are busy carrying other molecules besides oxygen.
As you now know, your diet can starve your body of oxygen. Now let’s take a look at foods, drinks, and eating habits that restrict good oxygen flow.
Everything you eat either has a positive or negative action in your body. Ingredients such as white flour, sugar, unhealthy fats, dairy, and processed meats can cause an immune response that produces an overload of mucus in the lungs. Mucus membranes in your mouth and nose trap particles (like viruses and dust) in the the air you breath. This is one of your immune systems first line of defense. You become much more susceptible to an illness you breath in when you eat these kinds of foods because you distract your immune system while feeding the virus.
Overeating is another problem that can cause breathing issues. We have all eaten too much at one point or another and you immediately notice your energy levels drop and you want to lay down and take a nap. This is because your body pushes more blood to the stomach to digest the meal. Doing this on a regular basis causes many other issues besides breathing. Digestive problems and weight gain are just to name a couple.
The heavier you get, the more cells you have (fat & muscle cells need oxygen too) and the more strain you put on your lungs. Now, if you are working out and growing muscle, your lungs adapt to the changes, but if your wight gain is from eating unhealthy without exercising, then you are weakening your lungs while demanding more oxygen.
Oxidation is basically the way the earth naturally breaks down living organisms. If you take a bite out of an apple and leave it for a few minutes, you will get to see this process in action. The white flesh of the apple will start turning yellowish brown and will eventually be completely broken down as time passes. The skin protects the apple until it is broken and exposed to the oxygen in the air.
This process is also happening to you. Every breath you take, the life-giving oxygen is also slowly breaking down your cells. This is what we call aging. Over enough time you will eventually end up just like the apple. How quickly you get there depends on you and your lifestyle.
The cells in your body are coated with either a fat or water membrane (kind of like the skin of the apple). These membranes protect the cells from oxidation but weaken over time and even quicker if you don’t take the proper precautions. We all know things like cigarettes and alcohol speed up oxidation, but what slows it down?
Antioxidants are molecules that protect cells from oxidation. My favorite two are Vitamin E and Vitamin C. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble Vitamin that protects the fat membranes and Vitamin C is water-soluble and protects the water membranes.
When maintaining a healthy respiratory system, it comes down to eating a healthy diet and cutting out mucus forming foods and drinks, incorporating exercise into your daily regimen, and avoiding inhaling smoke or any other toxins.
You can also keep those lungs healthy with certain respiratory supporting herbs such as our Eldermint Tea and Formula BL (Bronchial and Lungs). These two herbal formulas work great together. I like to mix both formulas in 8oz of warm water and drink about an hour before bed. Nothing like clearing your lungs before a night of sleep.
To learn more about the respiratory system, you can watch this weeks video here.