6 ways to breathe better this winter

Breathing in winters, Trouble in breathing during winters

Breathing, the most important life function. In fact, we are so good at it that we can do it with our eyes closed. On a much serious note, because we don’t breathe consciously, it is easy to overlook good breathing habits. If you are a city resident, you will realize how winters create or aggravate breathing problems. As the temperature and moisture levels drop, breathing can be straining on your lungs. Breathing troubles including coughing, wheezing, asthma can mar the fun of winters. People suffering from chronic lung diseases find winters to be particularly scary and damaging to health. In this post, we share ways to breathe better in winters, therapies to help clean lungs, and keep lungs happy and healthy.

Use a mask when you go out

Face masks for winters, Respiratory masks
Wearing a mask reduces the chances of breathing problems due to dust, smog, and pollen around. 

The best way to keep breathing problems at bay- prevent irritants from getting in your respiratory system. Anti-pollution masks are your best friends when you have dust, smog and pollen all around. When you are buying a mask, look for one that says N95 or N99. Masks with N95 and N99 rating can filter up to 95 and 99 percent respectively of the harmful PM2.5 particulate matter.1 An anti-pollution mask, when used regularly, can reduce breathing problems in both adults and children. Not only this, you won’t spread flu if you are suffering from it, or catch cough and cold by breathing in the contaminated air.

Avoid furnaces, fire places and smoking zones

Fireplace in winters, Burning of woods in winters, wood-burning stoves
Burning woods emit harmful gases and noxious particles in the air

It is tempting to warm yourself near a cozy fireplace. Wood burning stoves, fireplaces and even smoking emit harmful gases and noxious particles, damaging the air quality. Exposure to such an atmosphere can not only cause lung problems, but have long-term health side-effects like cancer. If you suffer from breathing ailments, avoid smoking and places with high presence of toxic particles.

Indoor air purification

Snake Plants as air purifier
Snake Plants emit oxygen and filter the air by removing toxins from the air

4.3 million people die annually from exposure to household air pollutants. Isn’t it shocking? And indoor air pollution becomes worst in winters, as we keep doors and windows closed to improve insulation. The contaminants like bacteria, viruses, mold, and dust mites gather and multiply causing lung infections. Indoor air purification methods are vital in winter, especially if you don’t have strong immune system. Consider investing in high quality air purifiers. Activated carbon filters can remove smoke, gas, odors and chemicals. Some advanced purification systems can kill pathogens like bacteria, viruses and pollen.

A number of indoor plants also act as effective air cleansers. Keep indoor plants like Snake Plant, Dwarf Date Palms and Spider Plant to add greenery to your home. Besides the aesthetic touch, they detoxify air and improve indoor air quality.

Salt lamps are natural air purifiers that pull-out toxins from the environment and detoxify your breathing spaces. You can use an antiseptic blend of pure essential oils like eucalyptus and thyme to kill germs. Add a few drops to a warm water and let the bowl sit in the room to enjoy pure air.

Care for your lungs

Effect of winters on breathing
Cold winters lead to poor breathing

There are some tried and tested therapies to clean lungs. Regular lung cleansing in winter can improve your breathing and fight chronic respiratory conditions like asthma and cystic fibrosis. Daily steam therapy can work wonders for breathing problems. Winters can dry out the mucous membranes in the airways and restrict blood flow. Steam adds warmth and moisture to the air, and help loosen mucus inside the airways and lungs.

Steam inhalation provides immediate relief to congested and help people breathe more easily. Practise breathing exercises, especially Pranayam to improve breathing.

Tackling air pollution with Ayurveda

Ginger and basil leaves
Drinking tulsi and ginger tea can help in relieving congestion and throat pain.

Use of Ayurveda can make your lungs stronger, even in highly polluted areas and extreme winters. Eat anti-inflammatory foods like gooseberries, cherries, turmeric and leafy greens. Make Vitamin C a compulsory part of your diet to boost immunity. The following naturopathic remedies can be extremely beneficial in winter.

  • Boil one glass of water with a few tulsi leaves, grated ginger and a small piece of crushed jaggery. Allow it to boil for five minutes and consume the concoction while it’s warm.
  • Have Golden milk (Haldi milk) to keep cold at bay. To prepare this, take a glass of milk and add a pinch of haldi. You can customize it with spices like ginger, tulsi, cardamom and cinnamon.

Another wonderful Ayurvedic hack is putting a drop of pure cow ghee in every nostril every morning and at bedtime.  This helps to keep clear of pollutants. Also, you can consume 2-3 teaspoons of ghee daily to chelate out toxic metals like lead and mercury.

Go natural

Nasyam for proper breathing
Nasyam is the process of elimination of toxins through the nose

Instead of overloading on medicines, allow your body to self-heal. By tackling air pollution with naturopathy, you can prevent unnecessary overdose of medication like flu shots. For affected lungs, opt for naturopathic treatments like chest and back massage, oxygen therapy, steam and sauna baths. The Yogic way of Jal neti has proven to be extremely effective in clearing sinuses and breathing well. Nasyam and jal neti can be performed for nasal cleansing and delivery of potent healing agents to give a disease-free body.

 

Exercise regularly and increase your lung capacity and stamina.

This winter, take care of your lungs by following these easy tips. These are natural, practical and very easy to do. Avoid smoking and breathing in toxic air and load up on healthy, anti-oxidant rich foods. Instead of allopathic medicines that target the symptoms, shift to naturopathic life that targets holistic wellbeing and promotes prevention rather than treatment. Check out our article on how to fight the ill-effects of Air Pollution in Delhi?

Get Nasyam treatment at Vrishkalpa Centre in Malviya Nagar.

Get therapies for your lungs in Gurgaon at 

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