10 Ways to Naturally Clear Your Lungs

The lungs provide a tremendous amount of support to our bodies. In order to keep our bodies alive, our cells need a constant supply of oxygen. Our lungs facilitate that process. However, the air we breathe is often contaminated with pollutants like pollen, chemicals, viruses, and smoke that can get trapped inside the lungs. The lungs are self-cleaning by nature, but sometimes some assistance can be beneficial.

Fresh Air

Why You Could Benefit from a Lung Cleanse

When lungs are exposed to pollutants, mucus gathers to capture harmful microbes. You may experience a congested or heavy feeling in your chest.

Those that benefit most from a lung cleanse include:

  • People regularly exposed to pollution
  • People with chronic respiratory conditions
  • Smokers

There are several easy and natural techniques that encourage optimal lung health by helping to get rid of built-up mucus and contaminants, improving breathing comfort, opening your airways, increasing lung capacity, and encouraging a normal inflammatory response.  

How to Clear Your Lungs

1. Drainage Techniques

When mucus clogs up your lungs, sometimes you need to utilize gravity to get it out. You can do this by lying on your back, side, or stomach.

  • Lying on Your Back: Lie down with a pillow under your hips to keep your chest angled down toward the floor or bed. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth slowly; take twice as long to exhale as you do to inhale. Do this for a few minutes to help clear the bottom front parts of your lungs.
  • Lying on Your Side: Put pillows under your hips and rest your head comfortably on your arm or pillow. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth slowly; take twice as long to exhale as you do to inhale. Do this for a few minutes and repeat on your other side to help clear the bottom parts of your lungs.  
  • Lying on Your Stomach: Lie down with your stomach over a stack of pillows. It’s essential that your hips are angled above your chest. Support your head by folding your arms underneath, then inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth slowly; take twice as long to exhale as you do to inhale. Do this for a few minutes to help clear the lower back part of the lungs.

2. Percussion

This technique turns your body into a drum to help loosen and drain fluid from the lungs. Lying down with your head lowered, have someone tap firmly on your back with a cupped hand in order to vibrate the lungs’ airways. This process helps move mucus away from small airways and toward larger ones where it can make its way out of the lungs. A doctor or respiratory therapist can explain how often you should use this technique.

3. Aerobic Exercise


There are two types of exercise: aerobic and anaerobic. Most aerobic activities are considered “cardio,” like walking and running, and utilize oxygen to generate energy. Anaerobic activities, like jumping and sprinting, use stored energy sources for immediate energy.

Aerobic exercise puts your lungs to work and strengthens your lung capacity, circulation, and tissues. When you exercise regularly, the body learns to adapt and use oxygen more effectively.

Walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, and tennis are examples of beneficial aerobic exercises you can add to your lifestyle.

4. Keep Your Air Clean

Typically we think about pollutants being in the air outside, but many of us have harmful chemicals hanging around in the air inside our homes. First, get rid of air fresheners and candles with fragrances because they can be filled with chemicals that can aggravate the lungs. Next, use natural cleaning products and vacuum regularly. Finally, because pollutants will inevitably find their way into your home, invest in an air purifier to filter them out proactively.


6. Eat Foods That Encourage Normal Inflammatory Responses

Anti-inflammatory Foods

When the lungs are inflamed, it can be difficult to breathe. The chest may feel full and congested. There are specific foods and spices that have antioxidant properties and can help encourage the reestablishment of a normal inflammatory response. Try adding these foods into your diet:  

  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Beets
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Walnuts
  • Tomatoes
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Leafy Greens

Most vegetables contain valuable nutrients that can help strengthen the lungs. While adding these ingredients to your diet can be beneficial, limit your alcohol consumption and intake of red meat, processed foods, sugar, and salt.

7. Drink Green Tea

Drinking a cup of green tea every day is known to have a host of benefits for the heart, brain, and lungs. Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins that are known to help discourage cell damage.

When making your tea, don’t use boiling water because it can affect its antioxidant properties. Instead, use water that’s around 160 degrees and add a little lemon or honey.

8. Run a Steamy Shower

There are very good reasons to turn up the heat next time you take a shower. When you spend time breathing in the steam from a hot shower, it can help open your airways, loosen the mucus in the lungs, and benefit your sinuses. To make your steam session even more effective, add a little eucalyptus oil to further reduce and loosen congestion. Plus, it’ll make you feel like you’ve entered a spa in your very own home.

9. Yoga Poses

Triangle Post

When it comes to yoga, every movement and breath is intentional. Practicing yoga can help you learn how to control your breath, correct bad habits, and improve your oxygen intake. Just like lifting weights helps strengthen your muscles, breathing exercises in yoga can help strengthen the lungs.

For example, try the Triangle Pose, which allows air to enter the lungs and open the chest. Stand with your legs wide and left foot turned out. Turn your hips and torso in the direction of your left toe. Slightly bend your left leg and raise your arms at shoulder level. Next, straighten your left leg as you hinge forward and place your left hand on your shin or on the ground on the inside of your left foot. Extend your right arm straight overhead and look towards it. Remain in the pose for at least 30 seconds before inhaling and standing up. Repeat on the other side.

10. Avoid Harmful Pollutants

Every day you can check the air quality index in your city at airnow.gov. If the level is orange or higher, adjust any outdoor plans you had for the day to protect yourself. For example, if you planned to exercise outdoors on a high-level day, swap walking in the park with walking inside an indoor mall. Regardless of the index, avoid exercising near high-traffic streets and highways because there are likely high amounts of pollution present.

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