Respiratory System: Whole Foods That Target Respiratory Health


Your respiratory system is one of the most vital in your body because it manages your breathing - and without breath you'll quickly die.

Breathing discomforts and irritations are usually caused by blockages in the respiratory system due to viral overwhelm, airborne pathogens and toxic chemical environments.

And these imbalances can quickly progress from mild, niggling ailments to more serious conditions unless you make some dietary or lifestyle changes that will better support your healthy respiratory function.

As always, it pays to keep things simple. 

Start by embracing Mother Earth and the natural solutions she provides to ensure a strong, healthy respiratory system. 

What Is The Respiratory System?

The respiratory system consists of the breathing organs of your body, which broadly include the nose, throat and lungs.  

These organs are particularly susceptible to bacterial and viral overwhelm which leads to all kinds of health problems down the road.

This is why it's so important to practice daily habits and include foods in your diet that protect your respiratory health. 

Respiratory Function

The respiratory system has two main jobs to perform:

  1. To provide the body with oxygen and;
  2. To rid the body of carbon dioxide.

Your cells need fresh oxygen to break down and release energy from food, during which time, carbon dioxide also forms as a 'waste' residue.

Oxygen from air inside the lungs passes through the walls of the "alveoli" (millions of tiny air sacks stored in the bronchioles), blood vessels and into the blood.  The oxygen-rich blood leaves the lungs and travels to the heart, pumping it as nourishment to the cells of the body.

Carbon dioxide is expelled through the lungs when we exhale, sneeze or cough.

Respiratory Diseases

There are many dis-eases and ailments that are a function of a poorly performing respiratory system. Some of the most common include:

Best Whole Foods For Respiratory Problems

There are very specific foods and herbs from nature's table that support respiratory health and the healing and avoidance of these conditions.  

Here's some of these powerful foods that you should be including in your diet regularly, particularly as the seasons move into the colder months:

  • Onions - Onions contain re-missive inflammatory agents that clear the airways. The sulphur compounds in onions are powerful in reducing the severity of inflammatory conditions like asthma and respiratory congestion. It's also the flavonoids in onions that work with vitamin C to remove harmful bacteria, particularly during cold and flu season;
  • Garlic - contains a compound known as Allicin that kills micro-organisms that lead to respiratory infections. Eat 2-3 cloves of raw organic garlic if you suffer from respiratory problems and cook with garlic frequently for respiratory support.
  • Potatoes - Share the signature pattern of the lungs. The reputation of potatoes as a starchy, high-carb food has sadly removed them from the diets of millions of ignorant consumers. The starches in potatoes act like miniature 'sponges' that absorb toxins and waste, removing them from the lungs and body. The red skin variety, in particular, is powerful for protecting against and healing cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems due to the phenolic and flavonoid content.  

**Recommended protocol for healing respiratory ailments:  Cut two raw, red skin potatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices, squeeze fresh lemon juice on top, then sprinkle with sea salt before eating raw once each day.

  • Radishes -  Nature's decongestant food.  Like chilis and jalapenos, radishes are potent for respiratory conditions like bronchitis and asthma. They're also very effective in providing relief for nose, throat and lung congestion and infections and allergies associated with the cold and flu. Radishes are also an amazing natural disinfectant and breath freshener.
  • Raw Honey - Honey has been used since ancient times as both food and medicine. It targets the lungs and heals respiratory infections, as well as the rest of the body. It is nature's protector/inhibitor, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal substance from the bees...uhhhum...gods!
  • Peppermint - Beneficial for healing asthma and all kinds of 'breathing' related ailments, Peppermint contains a substance called, rosmarinic acid, which blocks the formation of pro-inflammatory chemicals. It also encourages the cells to make substances called prostacyclins that keep the airways open for easy breathing. That's why Peppermint Pure Essential Oil is a key ingredient in my Breathe EZ nasal spray
  • Apples -  Your lungs are assaulted every day by cigarette smoke, pollution, pollen and other air-borne nasties. You may also suffer from asthma, emphysema or a similar lung condition. If you want to help improve these conditions, then grab an apple; apples are awesome lung food! 

Learn more in What Are Whole Foods? 7 Benefits Of A Whole Food Diet

Natural Respiratory Remedies

There are also some fantastic 'epi-cure', juice recipes that I've recommended over the years that can also assist with the health of the respiratory system.  

This blend is high in chlorophyll, which of course promotes detoxification of the liver and colon - very important for remissing conditions like asthma and bronchitis.

Breathe Baby Breathe!

5 oz Celery Juice
2 oz Kale Juice
2 oz parsley juice
1 clove garlic juice
1 oz lemon juice
1/3 onion juice

Sip it slowly, drink it often and make the foods I've mentioned here part of your regular diet for a healthy functioning respiratory system.

Learn more about how to best prepare this epicure in Fruit & Vegetable Juicing: What You Should Know

Probiotic Rich Foods

Probiotics ensure a healthy gut ecology where good bacteria can proliferate.  This stimulates a healthy immune system, and in turn, good respiratory health.

Be sure to include foods like fermented vegetables e.g. Kimchi, Sauerkraut, organic yogurt, kefir or coconut kefir and kombucha regularly. 

Use Essential Oils

Pure essential oils are powerful, natural medicinals that will support your all round health. 

For healthy respiratory function, start with the following oils.

They can be applied topically and used aromatically - massage a few drops into your chest, neck and bottom of your feet, inhale from the palms of your hands, or place in a diffuser at home, next to your bed or in your work place:

Eucalyptus - helps cleanse your respiratory tract of micro-organisms and toxins that are causing overwhelm in your body. Additionally, Eucalyptus dilates your blood vessels which helps to get more oxygen into your lungs, helping to clear your airways.

Peppermint - rich in menthol, which is a powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral compound that has a cooling effect on the body, boosting nasal air flow, relaxing the bronchioles and increasing natural ventilation.  It is also increases respiratory rate, enhancing your ability to breathe effectively.

Oregano - has potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, oregano is renowned as a natural alternative to antibiotics to support and heal respiratory discomforts.  As well as topical and aromatic applications, add a few drops to soups and sauces when cooking.

Lemon - has a detoxification and cleansing effect, helping to fight infections, boosting immunity, supporting lymphatic drainage and providing protection from outside pathogens.

Learn more these and other oils in Top Essential Oils For Colds, Flu, Immunity & Seasonal Allergies

Nature-Made Salt

A conversation about healing any ailment linked to the respiratory system is not complete without mentioning the importance of SALT!  

Besides the foods already mentioned, be sure to get plenty of nature-made salts like Celtic Sea Salt and Himalayan Crystal Salt into your diet as they will build a resistance to infection, inflammation and viral overwhelm in your body.

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