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What Do My Lungs Do?

What Your Lungs Do (and 3 Ways You Can Help)

The average adult takes over 20,000 breaths a day — all thanks to the hard work that the lungs and the rest of the respiratory system do. The lungs are protected deep inside the rib cage and are essential to the body's ability to breathe. They keep the body's cells supplied with nutrient-rich oxygen and get rid of carbon-dioxide waste. But this can only happen when they're in good shape.

Ready to breathe a little easier? Learn how to protect your lungs today.

  1. Don't smoke: Period. Smoking is hands down the worst thing you can do to your lungs. Smoke narrows the air passages that lead air to the lungs. It also causes swelling in the lungs and breaks down the lung tissue. If you're worried about filling the void of smoking with food, then here are some tips to help you quit smoking without gaining weight.
  2. Add aspirin: Dr. Weil has a list of supplements for healthy lungs, but one of them is probably in your medicine cabinet already! Adding a daily aspirin to your routine can help keep lungs' inflammation at bay.
  3. Chow down on cruciferous veggies: Rich in cancer-fighting isothiocyanates, broccoli, cabbage, and kale are all examples of crunchy cruciferous veggies that help fight lung cancer. In over 30 studies, patients who ate the most cruciferous veggies had the lowest risk of lung cancer.

Source: Corbis Images and Shutterstock

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