How to Keep the Respiratory System Healthy

You can promote respiratory health in many ways beyond not smoking. Whether using these strategies preventatively or to reduce symptoms of a condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, you can make a positive difference in the health of your respiratory system.

Step 1

Exercise regularly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week to promote overall health. Always check with your doctor before beginning exercise, especially if you already have any respiratory or other types of conditions.

Step 2

Eat a diet rich in nutrients necessary for a healthy respiratory system. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, low levels of certain nutrients have been linked to lung diseases. It recommends eating foods rich in vitamins A,C and E and the minerals zinc, potassium, selenium, magnesium and zinc.

Step 3

Drink plenty of water to help thin mucus secretions that accumulate in your lungs, facilitating easier breathing. You typically lose about 6.3 cups of fluids daily and drinking at least this much will ensure adequate fluid intake.

Step 4

Add houseplants to your rooms. According to the British Columbia Lung Association, indoor plants can improve the quality of the air in your home by removing chemical vapors that can harm respiratory health.

Step 5

Wash your hands frequently, get vaccinated for the flu and practice good oral hygiene to prevent infections that can travel from the mouth to the rest of the body, notably your lungs.

Step 6

Exercise in cleaner conditions, such as side streets or parks away from busy thoroughfares. Walking or jogging on the side of busy streets leads to breathing in harmful fumes. Check air quality reports for your area so that you don't exercise outside on heavily polluted days.


Talk to your doctor about using supplements that might promote lung health. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, supplements linked to better respiratory health include magnesium, l-carnitine, ginseng, n-acetyl cysteine, lobelia and mullein.

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