Lung health may seem like a strange topic for the month that's associated with the heart, but lung health is largely influenced by heart (or cardiovascular) health so is much more relevant than it might appear.  We tend to take breathing for granted, but it's so very essential!  There are a number of things we can do to promote the health of our lungs preferably before we have any problems.

   Common Lung Diseases

Pneumonia is the leading infectious cause of death in children worldwide
You may not realize that pneumonia is the leading infectious cause of death in children worldwide, so lung health is a concern not just at older ages.  Pneumonia is preventable and treatable.  It causes illness in 155 million children under 5 and kills 1.6 million, worldwide, each year.  The highest risk occurs in the first month of life.  This makes pneumonia the number 1 killer of children under 5, claiming more young lives than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.  Unfortunately, pneumonia doesn't get the attention it should and most people are unaware of the toll it takes. Better prevention and treatment could save millions of lives per year.

A recent study has drawn attention to an association between being hospitalized for pneumonia and subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease, most notably in seniors, but also in younger adults.  For those aged 54 and older, the increased risk is highest in the first year following the infection, but the risk remains elevated for a decade.  In the first month, their risk of having a heart disease event is four times higher than that of people who were not hospitalized with pneumonia.  For younger adults, the risk is also elevated, but not to the same extent and it appears to level off after two years.  This study reinforces the connection between lung health and heart health.

Chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD)
In older adults, a major type of lung disease is known as chronic obstructive lung disease, or COPD.  COPD includes emphysema and bronchitis.  This is another condition that does not receive a lot of attention, but it affects more than 13 million Americans. There were 1.3 million Canadians "reported" or diagnosed based on data from 2009 - 2011, and over 4 million Canadians with lung function indicative of COPD.  It has been described as the 4th leading cause of death in both the United States and Canada. 

COPD is a serious and progressive lung disease which develops when lungs become damaged from smoking and/or heavy expoure to pollution, chemicals or dusts. There may be a genetic predisposition to COPD.  Airways become partially blocked making it hard to breathe.  The damage is irreversible and there is no cure. However, you can do a lot to slow down its progression and live a higher quality, longer life.  Early diagnosis can improve a person's prognosis.  The best option is, of course, prevention.

Asthma has been defined as a "chronic inflammatory disease of the airways" that can cause any or all of: a shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing and wheezing.  Asthma symptoms may be mild, moderate or severe and vary from person to person. 

According to the World Health Organization, asthma is now a serious public health problem with over 235 million sufferers worldwide.  According to Statistics Canada 8.5% of the population aged 12 and over have been diagnosed with asthma as of 2010.  Asthma is most common during childhood and affects at least 13% of Canadian children. It is a major cause of hospitalization of children in Canada.

There are many risk factors and triggers for asthma.  They include:

  • a family history of asthma and/or allergy (eczema, hay fever)
  • exposure in infancy to high levels of antigen such as house dust mites
  • exposure to tobacco smoke or chemical irritants in the workplace
  • Allergic triggers include: mould, animal dander, pollen, cockroaches and dust mites
  • Non-allergic triggers include: Certain drugs (ASA, beta blockers), chemicals, fumes and odours, respiratory viral infections, cold air, strenuous physical exercise, tobacco smoke and air pollution or smog.

Lung cancer
It is estimated that 26,100 Canadians developed lung cancer in 2014. Incidence of lung cancer remains higher in males (59 per 100,000) than females (48 per 100,000). Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both males (27% of cancer deaths) and females (26.5% of cancer deaths).

The main cause of lung cancer is smoking - the more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the greater your risk of developing lung cancer.  Exposure to second-hand smoke also increases your risk of lung cancer.  Other causes include a family history of lung cancer, exposure to air pollution, exposure to asbestos and also petroleum (crude oil), radon gas and other chemicals.

   How Can I Keep my Lungs Healthy?

There are many things you can do to keep your lungs healthy.

  • Don't smoke!  If you don't smoke, keep up the good work.  Don't start.
  • If you smoke, get help in quitting.  Smoking is a major cause of serious lung diseases like lung cancer and COPD.  Smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes contains over 4,000 harmful chemicals, of which 50 are known to cause cancer.  Even if you've been smoking for years, it's never too late to quit and improve your health.
  • Avoid second-hand smoke.  Second hand smoke is a complex mix of chemicals, and you're inhaling an unfiltered version of this smoke.  Just as if you smoked yourself, breathing in second-hand smoke can cause illness and death.

Some things you can do to avoid second-hand smoke:

  • Don't allow smoking in your home, car or workplace.
  • Support businesses and activities that are smoke-free.
  • Make sure your children are not exposed to second-hand smoke at daycare, or at friends' or relatives' houses.

Wash your hands properly with regular soap and water.  It's estimated that hands spread 80 percent of common infectious respiratory diseases like colds and flu.  You can reduce your risk of getting sick by learning how and when to wash your hands, and by teaching this skill to your children.  Avoid anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners - using these can lead to antibiotic resistance.  Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you don't have access to soap and water.

Be aware of air pollution and do your part to keep the air clean.  Indoor and outdoor air pollution can cause health problems, especially for people with lung diseases.  Air pollution can irritate, inflame or destroy lung tissue.  Even low levels of air pollution can cause health problems.  Children, seniors and people with chronic health problems have a higher risk of getting sick from air pollution.  If you're at high risk, it's best to stay indoors when the air quality index indicates high levels of air pollution.


  • Don't let your car engine idle.
  • Avoid open-air burning.
  • Don't use pesticides and other chemicals on your lawn.
  • Use public transit.


  • Control moisture levels in your home.  Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to vent moisture to the outside.  Keep indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50% if possible.
  • Maintain home appliances.  Have major appliances such as furnaces, heat pumps and air conditioners inspected and cleaned regularly by a professional.
  • Keep surfaces clean.  Keep moist surfaces such as bathtubs, shower stalls and kitchen counters clean and dry.
  • Control dust, especially if you're allergic to dust mites and animal dander.  Dust mites thrive in mattresses, sofas, stuffed chairs and bedding.  Always wash bedding in hot water (at least 54.5 C or 130 F) to kill dust mites.  Keep carpets clean and dry.
  • Ventilate: Make sure you're getting lots of fresh, clean air into your home.  Open your windows when cleaning, painting, installing new carpet or doing other household projects.
  • Protect yourself from lung health hazards at work.  People who work in certain jobs such as construction and mining have a higher risk for lung diseases.  If you spend a lot of time working around dust, asbestos or chemicals, wear protective clothing including a gas mask or respirator, and ventilate work areas.

Exercise is important to keep your lungs healthy. Lungs rely on the diaphragm muscle, so exercise doesn't necessarily strengthen them, but any improvement of the cardiovascular system makes the job of the lungs easier.  Do something active for at least 30 minutes per day even if you break this up into, say, 3 ten-minute periods of activity.

Foods for healthy lungs and easier breathing

We can nourish our lungs indirectly through the cardiovascular system by eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables, and including plenty of waterGood hydration levels can, for example, play an important role in reducing or eliminating asthma attacks.  Specific foods that promote lung health include:

Garlic and onions are great for the heart, and therefore the lungs too.  They reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol and fight infection.

Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and promotes the elimination of pollutants from the lungs.

Chili peppers are filled with capsaicin, the spicy compound that makes them hot.  Capsaicin improves blood flow, stimulates mucus membranes, and fights infection.

Cruciferous vegetables - cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and kale have been shown to halt the progression of lung cancer, and cut the risk of developing lung cancer in half.  They are rich in chlorophyll that cleans and builds blood, and full of some very effective antioxidants.

Pomegranates - Pomegranate juice slows the growth of lung tumours.  Pomegranates contain many antioxidants including ellagic acid, which is gaining in importance in cancer research.

Turmeric is related to ginger and has many of the same benefits.  It contains curcumin that encourages the self-destruction of cancer cells.

Apples are rich in flavonoids, vitamin E and vitamin C, all of which help the lungs function optimally.  People who eat several apples a week have healthier lungs.

Grapefruit contains naringin, a flavonoid that inhibits the activation of a cancer causing enzyme. White grapefruit contains a high amount of this flavonoid.  Pink grapefruit has some as well, along with the antioxidant, lycopene.  Grapefruit is especially good at cleansing the lungs after quitting smoking.

Beans, seeds and nuts are all rich in magnesium, a mineral that contributes to healthy lung function.  They also provide essential fatty acids that are good for the cardiovascular system.

Carrots are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and lycopene, all antioxidants that affect lung health and lower the chances of developing lung disease.

Oranges - Citrus is rich in vitamin C and vitamin B6.  They help the lungs to tranfer oxygen.

Pumpkin is another food rich in beta carotene and vitamin , like carrots.

Red bell peppers are rich in vitamin C and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.  Carotenoids have been shown to cut the risk of developing lung cancer.

Eat well and breathe easier!

   Lung-Healthy Supplements

Zambroza is a blend of the most healthful fruits and nutritional supplements from all over the world. Zambroza is replete with xanthones, bioflavonoids and powerful antioxidants. Bioflavonoids give fruits and vegetables their bright colors. In the body, bioflavonoids enhance vitamin C absorption and help maintain collagen and capillary walls. They also aid in the body’s immune–defense system.

Super Vitamins & Minerals for vitamin A, C, E and numerous minerals.!/Super-Vitamins-&-Minerals-120-tablets/p/6402719

Ginger capsules are available directly from our office.

Vitamin C!/Vitamin-C-500mg-180-tablets/p/6402670

Vitamin E with selenium is available directly from our office.


Capsicum (capsaicin) is available directly from our office.

Cure-Q-Min (curcumin)!/Cure-Q-Min/p/21211310

Magnesium complex is available directly from our office.

LH-C - Tonic formula used in chronic weaknesses of the respiratory system.!/LH-C-100-capsules/p/6402684

AL-C - Contains herbs traditionally used for sinus congestion, bronchitis, sinusitis, headaches, asthma, chronic coughs, emphysema, tuberculosis, croup, sore throat, and the common cold.  AL-C is available directly from our office.

AL-J is an excellent respiratory formula for relieving sinus and upper respiratory
congestion associated with allergies. Mullein is commonly associated with relief of respiratory problems. It contains mucilaginous substances which protect mucous membranes and prevent them from absorbing toxins. The cooling, soothing properties of mucilage lubricates tissues, reduces inflammation, and enhances healing.!/AL-J-100-tablets/p/6402681

For additional information, please email; or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment.  Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter.  Also on our website, please see back issues of this newsletter, additional information about products, order products, and see information about our Clinic.

  1. World pneumonia day November 12, 2014 in the world.  Accessed November 5, 2014.
  2. Corrales-Medina VF, Alvarez KN, Weissfeld LA et al. Association between hospitalization for pneumonia and subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease. JAMA 2015;313(3):264-274.
  3. Pneumonia raises heart attack, stroke risk in older adults, study finds. The Canadian Press. Posted Jan 20, 2015  Accessed February 16, 2015.
  4. Welcome to COPD Canada.  Accessed February 16. 2015.
  5. Stuart A. Living with COPD. WebMD Feature Accessed November 6, 2015.
  6. Asthma facts & statistics. Asthma Society of Canada.  Accessed February 16, 2015.
  7.  Lung cancer. Public Health Agency of Canada.
  8. How can I keep my lungs healthy? Public Health Agency of Canada  Accessed November 5, 2014.
  9. Pulsipher C. 14 foods for healthy lungs and improved breathing.  Accessed November 5, 2014.
The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.

These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better. It is a step toward longevity.


Ramila Padiachy
Ramila's Healing Arts Clinic