Smoking damages the lungs by putting excess stress on your cilia, the fibers which clean out your lungs. The carcinogens in smoke can overwhelm your cilia, causing permanent lung damage. Smoking can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and emphysema among other diseases. Though some of the damage may be irreversible, you can help improve lung function after long-term smoking.
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Eat a handful of cranberries daily. According to a study by researchers at the University of Scranton, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2008, cranberries are an excellent source of high quality antioxidants. Smoking leaves your lungs vulnerable to infection because of the added strain on the cilia to remove carcinogens. Antioxidants help to stave off infections.
Drink a mug of ginger tea daily. Smoking causes inflammation of the airways within the lungs. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, ginger is an effective anti-inflammatory spice that has been used by many health care professionals.
Maintain a healthful diet full of vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables. Malnutrition inhibits the body's ability to clear up secondary infections. Smoking compromises your lungs' ability to clean themselves, leaving them open to infection. According to the USDA, you should eat a minimum of two to four servings of fruit and three to five servings of vegetables daily.
Breathe fresh air as much as possible. Go outside to the park and take long, deep breaths.
Stay away from lung irritants as much as possible. These irritants include cleaning chemicals, mold, ragweed, pollen, dirt and smoke.