We can survive for weeks without food, days without water but without air we will die in minutes.
Why do we need oxygen?
The human body must have oxygen to supply each of its 100 trillion cells. Every day, you take more than 17,000 breaths to keep your body oxygenated. The heart sends blood to the lungs where it drops off carbon dioxide for elimination and picks up fresh oxygen for delivery to all the cells in the body.
It therefore stand to reason that air and the quality of air we breathe can have a big impact on our health and functioning.
What does fresh air do for us?
- Fresh air is good for your digestive system as it increases the flow of oxygen which helps you digest food more effectively.
- Fresh air improves blood pressure and stress levels.
- It makes you happier as the increase in oxygen increases the amount of serotonin in your body (the happy hormone)
- Fresh air strengthens your immune system by helping white blood cells function properly in there fight against bacteria and germs.
- It helps the lungs dilate more and assist with releasing airborne toxins from your body when exhaling.
- The human eye absorbs oxygen directly through the cornea as it has limited blood vessels, clean fresh air can go a along way towards eye health.
- You may have noticed after spending time outside, you come back indoors feeling brighter and more energetic. More oxygen results in greater brain functioning, improving your concentration skills and providing you with more energy. In addition, venturing outside will also help you produce vitamin D from the sun which is essential for many bodily functions including supporting our immune system, strengthening our bones, teeth and much more.
Practicing deep breathing exercises in a natural environment works wonders in overcoming fear, developing courage, and strengthening the entire nervous system.
Fresh air is essential to life, so spend time outdoors to gain the maximum health benefits.
The air and the quality of air we breathe can have a big impact on our health and functioning.
Pollution on the other hand causes air to lose its health benefits.
Long-term exposure to toxic or polluted air can compromise the health and functioning of the cells and organs of our bodies, leading to increased susceptibility to infections and various forms of disease.
Some long-term effects include: Lung cancer, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, and even damage to parts of the brain, nerves, liver, or kidneys.
Symptoms of environmental toxity include sore throats, burning eyes, coughing, sluggishness, nausea, headaches, dizziness, exhaustion, and depression, an increase in asthma and other respiratory problems and an increased rate of cancer.
When you spend hours in closed areas such as offices with air-conditioning, the same air can be breathed and re-breathed. This however, results in the oxygen content decreasing and the levels of carbon dioxide and other wastes increasing.
Breathing this kind of air, supply substandard oxygen that is insufficient to keep the cells fuelled properly. Impure air increases tension, anxiety, irritability, and headaches and promotes depression and chronic feelings of fatigue and exhaustion.
Any room or office we work in, should have proper ventilation with fresh air.
While we on the subject of pollution.Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Cigarette smoke can narrow the air passages and make breathing more difficult. It causes chronic inflammation, or swelling in the lung, which can lead to chronic bronchitis. Over time cigarette smoke destroys lung tissue and may trigger changes that grow into cancer. If you smoke, it’s never too late to benefit from quitting! Not too mention the impact of secondhand smoke on those arounds you especially our children.
It was God’s plan that we should breathe pure, fresh air from the moment we are born until the moment we die, without a single minute’s break. Lets look at an interesting way to improve your quality of air.
Polluted air can compromise the health and functioning of the cells and organs.
The Spider or Aloe plants are great plants to clean your air!
Even if you have leave a window open every now and then, indoor air is mainly stagnant. Besides the outdoor contaminants that make their way inside, many of the items people want in their homes emit toxic chemicals,primarily benzene and formaldehyde. New carpets, furniture, and household cleaning products contain both chemicals. Recently painted or varnished surfaces also off-gas toxins.
An easy way to clean indoor air is by introducing a houseplant. Certain plants are extremely effective at detoxing a closed room. In the 1980s, NASA compiled a list of the strongest air cleaning houseplants and put them into spaceships. At the top of their list was the spider plant.
A cousin of ferns, Spider plants (aka hen en kuikens) are resilient organisms; given the right conditions, they’ll grow quite large. Spider plants balance out xylene, formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide (all of these harmful chemicals are common to mass produced goods and products).
The small white flowers of the spider plant will grow into new plants when clipped and allowed to send roots down in a glass of water before replanting. This plant is also safe for homes with pets.
Another pretty choice, Aloe Vera is easy to care for. The gel from this plant soothes burns and upset stomachs. Aloe filters benzene and formaldehyde out of an environment. Aloe prefers a sunny spot with minimal watering, and a dry overall climate; you can grow it from just a clipping from a mother plant.
The red-edged Dracaena starts out as a pretty shrub; when allowed the space, it can grow up to the ceiling of a room. Dracaena removes formaldehyde, xylene, and trichloroethylene from a closed environment.
These toxins are found in varnishes and gasoline and this is therefore a good plant to keep in a garage or work shed, provided there’s adequate light and warmth. But it will clean the air in a bedroom too; if you have the space, a red-edged dracaena makes a dramatic addition to a bedroom (and it’s fun to wake up underneath one).
A sturdy plant that grows bright blossoms in cooler weather, the Chrysanthemum is a strong air purifier. Mums will branch out when planted in a garden, but they do all right indoors with direct sunlight.
Chrysanthemums detox the environment of any benzene; place one on the window of your home office to neutralize toxins from printer inks and carpeting.
One final word on bringing plant life inside: plants don’t just clean the air, they cheer up a blank corner and make the room more inviting.
An easy way to clean indoor air is by introducing a houseplant.
Besides the important health benefits, air does some other amazing things too...
Air and the Water Cycle
While the oceans contain most of the planet’s water, water also exists as ice and water vapor. Air is important because it helps water move between these states in a process scientists call the water cycle. Heated by the sun, surface water evaporates into the air and becomes water vapor. As temperatures drop, water vapor forms clouds as it condenses. Clouds return water to the ground in the form of rain, sleet or snow.
Because clouds move, they often transport water to locations far from where the water originated. The water cycle ensures that life around the planet receives the water it needs. It also helps replenish lakes, rivers and other waterways.
Air and the Carbon Cycle
Air plays a vital role in recycling one of Earth’s most important substances: CARBON. Carbon is important because we are carbon-based life forms and need it to survive. Carbon sources include fossil fuel combustion, the decay of dead animals and volcanoes. Animals and humans also release carbon dioxide into the air when they breathe.
Through a process called photosynthesis, plants extract carbon dioxide from the air and use it to produce energy. They also release oxygen during this process. When people and animals eat the plants, they ingest carbon and produce the energy they need to live.
When they die, their bodies decompose, causing carbon to go back into the air as this endless cycle repeats itself.
Air: Earth’s Comfort Blanket
Without air, average temperatures on Earth would plummet to below freezing. During the day, the planet gets warm as it absorbs energy from the sun. Through a process called the greenhouse effect, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases absorb some of the infrared radiation the earth releases as it cools. This heat in the atmosphere causes the earth’s surface to warm as well.
Air Protects You
Earth’s atmosphere helps protect you from X-rays, cosmic rays and other particles that bombard the planet. Earth’s ozone layer helps reduce the amount of harmful ultraviolet radiation that reaches the surface. Air also reduces the possibility that meteorites and asteroids could level a city. Most space rocks vaporize in the air before they reach the ground, where they can cause destruction. Earth’s atmosphere also helps moderate temperatures so that its surface isn’t too hot or too cold to support life.
Air plays a vital role in recycling one of Earth’s most important substances: CARBON.
We need air to hear
Imagine not being able to hear a screaming jet engine a foot away from your ear. That’s what would happen if air did not exist. People can hear sound only because air carries sound waves from one point to another. Eliminate air, and nobody will ever hear sounds that move between locations. Even the music instruments make use of resonance and bass with the alteration of air and sound combination.
Air makes the sky blue
Because air molecules cause violet and blue wavelengths of sunlight to scatter, the sky appears blue. With no air, the sky would always be black!
Air makes the weather
We can also thank air for rain, snow, tornadoes etc, because air helps create weather. Storms, for example, often occur when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass.
Air helps in drying
(humidity balance): Land when it gets wet by rains is dried due to air. The air on the immediate wet surface is very moist. So these moist layers of air are replaced by less moist or dry layers of air. The new dry layer on the surface takes up moisture from wet surface and the cycle continues till the surface dries.
Air helps in transport: Airplanes,helicopters birds and insects all use air to move, if there was no air they would not be able to fly.
Finally we tie the ability to breathe air to the foods we eat
List of foods that are good for healthy lungs
Carrots aren’t only healthy for your eyes, but the beta-carotene found in the vegetable is also beneficial for the health of your lungs. Beta-carotene converts into vitamin A that will help prevent various respiratory diseases such as asthma. Consuming fresh carrots are extremely nourishing for your overall well being.
According to a recent study, eating apples regularly can lower the risk of asthma up to 32%. Moreover, the compounds found in apples such as flavonoids and khellin can effectively open up airways letting you breathe without any difficulty.
Free radicals can damage your lungs and to prevent them leading to debilitating and harrowing diseases such as lung cancer, you can incorporate cantaloupe into your diet.
This fruit is loaded with Vitamin C, which has a potential to fight life-threatening free radicals. If you have a history of asthma or other respiratory problems, this is a great fruit to enjoy. Consuming foods in general that are high in vitamin C such as oranges, lemons, etc. are said to have a positive effect on your lungs.
Foods enriched with omega-3 fatty acids and Magnesium is essential to maintain strong lungs. Flax seeds can become a great source to help ward-off symptoms that contribute to asthma.
Due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties, garlic is a great addition to your meals to prevent and fight lung problems. It also prevents various other inflammations in the body that might adversely affect your lungs. Asthma sufferers do well to incorporate garlic in their diets.
Avocado is one of the most important foods that improve your respiratory health significantly. It is loaded with an antioxidant known as glutathione, which is responsible for fighting free radicals that damage essential cells in your body.
Damaged cells result in various daunting health problems and can damage your lungs.
Damaged cells result in various daunting health problems and can damage your lungs.
Amongst its benefits, turmeric also assists with lung maintenance. This spice is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties that protect your lungs against various inflammations that are caused by toxic substances.
Berries, specifically the darker ones, are not only mouthwatering in taste, but they are packed with numerous healthy properties and compounds such as antioxidants that is necessary to fight cancerous cells as well as fighting infections.
Are you consuming lung healthy foods?
List of foods that are bad for healthy lungs.
Eggs contribute to lung problems such as asthma and can lead to various allergies. This reaction is very common in children. In case of asthma, it is suggested that eggs and products that contain eggs are omitted from the diet.
Peanuts contain components that may trigger allergic reactions so its better to avoid it or products made with it once you find out about your allergies. Especially asthma sufferers often do best to avoid these nuts.
Salt (normal white table salt)
Table salt contains properties that does not benefit anyone, especially if you are suffering from breathing issues, it is recommended to limit salt intake and if you do rather opt for healthier Himalayan salt or Indian salt. Consuming unhealthy salts low in minerals and too high in sodium contributes to inflammation that causes fluid retention. Especially asthmatics’ symptoms will worsen if too much sodium is consume.
Consuming shellfish is a great cause for concern and causes allergies due to the components it possesses. Apart from shellfish, seafood like crayfish, crab, shrimp, etc. are also detrimental to people dealing with lung problems.
Contrary to popular belief, wine is detrimental to your lungs and can lead to the development of asthmatic symptoms. It contains a preservative referred to as sulphite, which can cause serious lung problems.
For people with lung disease, dairy products can worsen symptoms. Milk contains casomorphin, a “breakdown product of milk,” which has been known to increase mucus in the body. In all respiratory conditions, mucous-forming dairy foods, such as milk and cheese, can exacerbate clogging of the lungs and should be avoided..
Here is another reason why you might want to skip the bacon and sausage at breakfast as according to recent medical studies, eating cured meats increases the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and there is evidence that it can also cause the condition to worsen. If you already have an increased risk of developing COPD due to your history as a smoker and genetics, then you will definitely want to cut it out of your diet completely.
Any fast or junk foods, processed and refined foods loaded with additives and preservatives and foods that contain gluten can have a negative effect on our airways .
Bottom Line on Air and the lungs
Your lungs are what keeps you breathing nice and easy; overloading them by making bad lifestyle choices can lead to irreversible damages as you grow up. You also don’t want to depend on medications prescribed for respiratory illnesses. Even these medications can lead to a significant onset of side effects that in turn can lead to other health complications. So, rather opt for fresh wholesome plant based foods as listed earlier and steer clear of the foods that can trigger and cause lung damage.