15 to 25 times per minute, the lungs take in oxygen for all the cells of the body and excrete carbon dioxide waste. Because the lungs have a significant amout of reserve volume that is not used when the body is in its regular sedentary state, they can withstand a certain amount of damage before noticeable symptoms appear.

The best way to take care of your lungs and prevent lung diseases such as cancer and emphysema, is to avoid smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke. If possible, live in an area with good air quality and avoid toxic work environments. Even if you cannot avoid polluting your lungs, adding beneficial foods and nutrients to your diet can go a long way toward protecting your lungs from disease.

Beneficial Foods

Broccoli Substantially lowers risk of lung cancer when eaten at least 3-5 times per week. Eat only organic, raw or lightly steamed broccoli for cancer-fighting effects.
Brussels Sprouts Reduce the risk of lung cancer.
Garlic Dissolves mucus in lungs and bronchial tubes, kills bacteria in air passages, prevents respiratory infections.
Onions Help break up mucus congestion when eaten raw.
Turmeric Relieves the thick mucus in the lungs of cystic fibrosis sufferers.

Beneficial Nutrients

Magnesium Preserves healthy lung function over time.
Vitamin A Helps prevent emphysema in smokers, which is caused, in part, by a vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin B9/Folate Reduces risk of lung cancer.
Vitamin C Preserves healthy lung function over time.