Supporting our Lungs and Health when Air Quality is Compromised

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Guest Post written by Warren Kramer of Macrobiotics of New England

As most of you I am sure know, the air quality in Seattle and outlying areas has been described as “unfit” for everyone, not just those with compromised immune systems. Parts of Oregon and California are having the same issues as fires burn out of control and the air quality deteriorates.

It is interesting to note that according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, this time of the year we are moving into is called the metal element which also relates to the lungs and large intestine. It means that if we have an issue with either or both of these organs, often more symptoms will start to appear. At the same time, it is very helpful to focus on what we can do to support these organs especially given what is going on with the air quality.

If the bronchi and especially the alveoli of the lungs have mucous in them or we can say a damp, wet quality to them, then what happens is if we are exposed to more toxins and particles in the air, then that is what will stick to these areas in the lungs and create more damage. We will start to lose our ability to handle these environmental toxins. So what makes this sticky environment in the lungs to begin with? Number one is dairy food, especially ice cream. Even non dairy ice cream should be avoided. Tropical fruits and their juices, too much fruit in general, ice cold beverages, sugar and flour products are what create this damp sticky lung quality. Too much raw salad is also not advised when the air quality starts to decline.

There are a number of things that can be done to support the lungs and get rid of these toxins.

1. Eat whole grain at least once a day if not twice and especially brown rice.

2. Eat dark leafy greens that are steamed especially 1-2 times a day as they help to clean our the lungs. If you can locate watercress, make a point to have it often.

3. Make the round and root vegetable dish we call nishime on a regular basis as it also helps support the body to discharge toxins. If you can locate lotus root, please use it in this dish.

4. Increase your intake of miso soup to at least 4-5 times a week or more especially if you have been heavily exposed to poor air.

5. Emphasize the use of nori and arame sea vegetables more often as they are so powerful in cleaning the blood.

6. There are two home remedies that are especially helpful to detox and strengthen blood quality: ume-sho-kuzu and ume-sho-bancha

If there is some lung congestion, it is worthwhile to make some fresh lotus root tea as this works well when there is mucous or a wet productive cough. For a dry cough, black soybean tea works wonders.

The key to remember is to be very careful of the above mentioned foods and liquids that make the lungs more susceptible to the toxins in the environment. The suggestions will certainly help.

In health,