Juicing for Respiratory Disorders

Respiratory disorders, or lung diseases, are disorders that include asthma, pneumonia, tuberculosis, lung cancer, and others. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 121,000 Americans die of lung disease every year. It is the fourth leading cause of death overall and the number one reason for death in infants. More than 35 million Americans struggle with chronic lung disease.

Studies show that broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, have substances that may help protect against respiratory inflammation that causes conditions like asthma, allergic rhinitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Nutrients that Help Alleviate Respiratory Disorders

Studies show that in addition to quitting smoking, consuming foods high in certain key nutrients can help thin mucus and alleviate symptoms. Those nutrients include:

  • L-carnitine. This nutrient helps improve breathing and thin out mucus. Meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products are the richest sources of L-carnitine, while fruits, vegetables, and grains contain relatively little L-carnitine.

  • Coenzyme Q10. An antioxidant made naturally by the body that fights free radicals, this nutrient can also be found in spinach, broccoli, sweet potato, sweet pepper, garlic, peas, cauliflower and carrots. Soybean, rapeseed, sesame, cottonseed and corn oils all have high amounts of coenzyme Q10.

  • N-acetyl cysteine (taken in supplement form). This nutrient breaks up mucus. Double-blind studies show this nutrient improves symptoms and prevents recurrences in people with chronic bronchitis, and reduces the duration of the flu and other infections.

  • Magnesium. This mineral relaxes muscles, helps improve breathing, and thins out mucus. It is found in carrots, celery, beets, broccoli, spinach, blackberries, cauliflower, and parsley.

How to Eat to Combat Colds and the Flu

Good nutrition is essential for resisting and recovering from a cold. Drink lots of fluids to flush toxic byproducts out of the body as quickly and efficiently as possible. The best way to do this is to drink juice. Avoid tea and coffee, which have diuretic effects, as well as milk and dairy products. Studies show a compound in milk triggers the release of histamine, a chemical believed to contribute to the runny nose and nasal congestion that typifies cold and flu infections. In addition, avoid fatty, hard-to-digest foods such as cheese, red meat, and pastries, which put added strain on the digestive tract.

If you're having trouble breathing because of congestion, stay away from the hot toddy and stick to fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Alcohol not only depletes the body's reserves of fluids, but also robs it of its vitamin C sources. This puts extra strain on the liver, which has to work harder to detoxify the body.

Nutrients that Help Fight the Congestion of Colds and the Flu

Make sure you're getting adequate amounts of vitamin A, the vitamin B complex (vitamins Bl, B2, B3, B6, folic acid), and vitamin C, as well as the minerals zinc and copper, which help your body absorb iron.

Grapefruit helps fights colds because it is packed with vitamin C, which detoxes the liver and is your major defense against immunity. Oranges and other citrus fruits are too sweet to promote proper liver drainage, so stick to grapefruit juices if you have a cold, juicing one or more daily and consuming the white bitter pulp to build immunity. However, grapefruit may interact with prescription medications such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, psychiatric medications, and antihistamines, so ask your physician or pharmacist if grapefruit juice is safe to drink.

To fight colds and the flu, make sure you consume plenty of the following nutrients:

Vitamin C. Nobel laureate Linus Pauling swore by the effects of vitamin C to help prevent the common cold, but more recent research indicates that a minimum dosage of vitamin C is most beneficial and that taking mega-doses of vitamin C is not helpful and may, in fact, cause diarrhea. To avoid diarrhea, mix some calcium ascorbate powder (sold commer-cially as Ester-C) into your juices. It's the form of vitamin C that's least irritating to the digestive tract and least likely to cause diarrhea.

Zinc. Zinc contains neutrophils, compounds that help fight infections and colds, and is also necessary for the conversion of omega-3 acids into anti-inflammatory substances called prostaglandins. Recent studies show that zinc significantly reduces the time it takes to recover from a cold. Find zinc in tangerines, cruciferous veggies, parsley, ginger, carrots, grapes, spinach, and lettuce.

Vitamin A is vital to the mucous membranes throughout the respiratory system during a cold or flu. Find it in carrot, kale, cruciferous veggies, beets, chard, watercress, spinach, and romaine lettuce.

Pantothenic acid supports adrenal function, which is often compromised when you have a cold. It also helps to minimize nasal congestion and fatigue. Find it in cruciferous veggies.

Bioflavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties and help ease the course of a cold. Find them in cruciferous veggies, parsley, plums, tomatoes, citrus fruit, cherries, and watercress.

Herbs that help break up congestion and ease breathing include garlic, ginseng, green tea, and echinacea. To ease nasal congestion, use steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil added to the water.

Vitamin B complex helps regulate energy metabolism and boosts the immune system.

Copper helps your body absorb iron and also helps build immunity.

Eating to Combat the Flu

Oriental mushrooms such as shiitake, maitake, and reishi contain compounds that bolster your immune system. In addition, spicy foods help promote drainage and thin mucus, so fire up your veggie juice with chili, horseradish, hot pepper sauce, hot mustard, curry, and Mexican and Indian spices.

If you have the flu, it's essential to drink lots of hot fluids. These warm your throat and reduce viral replication, and also have a mild decongestant quality that helps reduce nasal stuffiness and congestion. Hot ginger tea can help reduce inflammation and kill viruses.

Avoid sugar. Too much sugar deactivates neutrophils, a special type of white blood cell that destroys cold viruses and other foreign invaders. In one study, people who consumed 100 grams of sugar, the equivalent of two cans of soda, had 50 percent reduced neutrophil activity.

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