Respiratory Disorders

and how your diet can help them

Respiratory disorders are all too common today and factors such as our lifestyle and the environment can sometimes be the cause.  Changes in our diet can help to make these respiratory conditions better, when combined with changes to our lifestyle.

Common respiratory disorders

Among the most common respiratory problems are asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.


People with asthma, probably the most common respiratory disorders, have extra sensitive airways that overreact to certain environmental elements such as pollens, animal hair, house dust mites and cold air.  When the airways are exposed to these stimuli, the linings of the airways become inflamed and swollen causing the surrounding muscles to tighten and the airways to narrow. 

asthma diet

It is suggested that the minerals important to lung health and therefore essential in an asthma diet are magnesium and selenium and the foods that can supply these are cereals, granary bread, nuts, apples and wheat germ.


This is a lung infection that can be caused by viruses or bacteria and its symptoms are coughing with green phlegm, along with chest pain and some soreness in the chest and throat.  It is most common in smokers and the elderly.

bronchitis diet

A carefully balanced bronchitis diet can help to reverse some of the conditions of bronchitis.  Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish such as sardines or mackerel and pumpkin seeds all provide nutrients that will help boost lung health and the immune system in general.

Plant based vitamin A, found in leeks, spring onions, carrots and spinach are also known to help improve lung health.


When you have emphysema, some of the air sacs deep in your lungs have been damaged.  When the air sacs in your lungs become damaged they lose their elastic properties and you have to use forcibly to breathe out, as your lungs are not able to empty themselves.  As the walls of the air sacs are damaged there is less surface area available to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide and this places extra stress on the heart, causing it to work harder.

Heavy smokers and people that come into contact with passive smoking are most at risk, so these conditions should be avoided as much as possible.

A diet that is rich in antioxidants will help to neutralise the pollutants that enter the lungs and potentially cause damage leading to emphysema.   Foods that contain vitamin C such as citrus fruits and vitamin E such as wholegrain cereals, nuts and seeds, will all help to reduce and maybe relieve some of the conditions associated with emphysema.

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