The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Six Tips for Keeping Your Lungs Clean

Six Tips for Keeping Your Lungs Clean

After a diagnosis of lung disease, quitting smoking is the single most effective thing a person can do to minimize lung damage, and the first of six tips for keeping your lungs clean.

The human body demonstrates an amazing ability to promote the healing of itself, and the lungs are no exception. However, long-term inhalation of smoke, smog or other harmful substances can overcome the lungs’ ability to flush themselves clean. The lungs are lined with cilia that move foreign particles upward and outward into the trachea, clearing alveoli so the little air sacs can do their job. “It’s like a mucus escalator,” according to Norman Edelman, M.D., a scientific advisor to the American Lung Association. “That’s a major form of defense. Within a few days to a week [after smoking cessation], you start feeling better, and you start coughing up all that bad mucus you have down there.”

I’ve already mentioned the first tip, but here’s the complete list of six tips for keeping your lungs clean.

Quit Smoking!

If you have been a long-term smoker—of anything, be it cigarettes, a pipe, or marijuana—your lungs are scarred. Tobacco smoke in particular contains carbon monoxide (poison), tar (gums up those little air sacs we need to breathe), and a plethora of additives Big Tobacco has so infamously added to keep smokers smoking (more poison). Above all, no matter what else you do, stop smoking now.

Adopt a Cleansing Diet.

 Evidence exists that antioxidant-rich foods can benefit the lungs. Findings of a 2010 study show people who consumed the most cruciferous vegetables such as bok choy, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower had close to half the risk of lung cancer as compared to those who ate the least. Listen to your mother—eat your veggies.


 Quit smoking, eat right and exercise–you’ve heard this spiel before. That’s because it’s the truth. Better cardiorespiratory fitness means that lungs are better able to keep the heart and muscles supplied with sweet, sweet oxygen. Regular exercise is imperative for those suffering from chronic lung disease. The hardest thing about exercising is getting started, and even a tiny effort is better than doing nothing at all.

Monitor Local Outdoor Air Quality.

 Air quality refers to the state of the air all around us. It is the degree to which the air is pollution-free, and it’s determined by measuring pollutants, emissions from sources such as factories and vehicles and ozone, also known as smog. These are the greatest contributors to outdoor air quality. It’s easy to understand the importance of air quality for lung disease sufferers.

You can check your local air quality index (AQI) using this online tool from airnow.gov. You can search by zip code, or by state. The website also provides a guide to what the numbers mean. If the AQI value is higher, there is more pollution in the air and more concern for people’s health and well being.

Be proactive. If the air quality during the day is poor, try to stay indoors. Adjust outdoor activities accordingly, and you can reduce the amount of pollution you’re breathing in.

Pay Attention to Indoor Air Quality.

 Indoor air quality also contributes to lung distress. Dust, irritants and chemicals can build up in your home. People with lung disease usually spend a lot of time indoors, and it’s important to do so on days when outdoor air quality is poor. Here are a few suggestions to help improve indoor air quality:

  • Clean Up
  • Vacuum often and invest in a good-quality vacuum cleaner. Mop your floors, but try not to use chemical-laden cleaners.
  • De-humidify
  • Dust and mold like humidity. Use a de-humidifier, keep your exhaust fan going when cooking and fix leaks to prevent mold.
  • Test for Radon
  • Radon is a radioactive gas occurring naturally in the ground, and it contributes to lung cancer. It can get in your home from the foundation. Pick up a radon test kit at any home improvement store.
  • Go Chemical-free
  • Use natural cleaning products, fragrance-free products and avoid aerosol sprays.
  • Purify the Air
  • Indoor plants such as a fern, spider or aloe vera can help purify your air. You can also use an air purifying machine.

Clear the Lungs.

Let’s talk mucus. People who suffer from lung diseases such as (COPD) have a significant amount of fluid to clear from their lungs. It’s important to keep the lungs as clear as possible to make breathing less stressful.

There are methods patients can discuss with their doctors such as postural drainage, in which gravity is used to help drain mucus into the mouth by placing the body in specific positions. Different positions drain different areas (lobes) of the lung. The mucus can then be coughed or spit out.

Chest percussion (chest physiotherapy) is a simple procedure in which the chest is clapped with a cupped hand to vibrate the airways and loosen mucus so it can be eliminated. Chest percussion is often used to complement postural drainage.

Ask your doctor or respiratory therapist about these techniques for clearing excessive mucus from the lungs.


About the Lung Institute

Many lung disease sufferers have seen an improved quality of life after receiving cellular therapy from the Lung Institute. If you or a loved one suffers from lung disease, contact one of our patient coordinators today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you are a candidate for cellular therapy.


  1. Steve Howell

    3 years ago

    Hello, Marcella.

    For pulmonary fibrosis, the Lung Institute makes use of autologous cells–meaning cells derived from the patient’s own body. This type of cell is found in adult fat tissue (adipose) or in the patient’s blood (venous). Stem cells derived from adipose tissue or blood have the capacity to form many types of differentiated cells. During the procedure, cellular treatment involves isolating adult cells from bone marrow and fat tissue, which requires special laboratory techniques to collect them.

    To begin the pulmonary fibrosis treatment process, natural growth factors are used to stimulate cell replication. After being extracted from the patient’s body, they are isolated and re-introduced to the patient intravenously or through the use of a nebulizer. The treatment is minimally invasive, typically an outpatient procedure, and performed in a clinical setting under the supervision of a professional physician that has received specific training to perform cell therapy. If you would like to further explore available treatment options for pulmonary fibrosis, please contact one of our patient care coordinators at (855) 313-1149 to schedule a free consultation.

    Best wishes, Marcella.

  2. Marcella

    3 years ago

    Can Stem Cell therapy benefit a person with Pulmonary Fibrosis? Do you have a history of any such successes for this disease? Thanks.

  3. Steve Howell

    3 years ago

    Mr. Cortijo,

    To find out if you’re a candidate for cell therapy at the Lung Institute, I suggest you contact us at (855) 313-1149 and speak with one of our patient coordinators.

    Best Regards, Sir.

  4. Ismael Cortijo

    3 years ago

    Ismael Cortijo – I have COPD – i’m a 65 yr old from NYC : 1967 Army Veteran ( aging orange disease) wtc 911 first responder 768 hrs in the red zone. How could the Lung Institute advise and or me.
    Ismael Cortijo

  5. Steve Howell

    3 years ago

    Mr. Mann,

    The ALA would prefer that more research be conducted with cell therapy before it endorses the procedure. The Lung Institute fully supports further research and testing. However, the clear improvement in patients’ lives who have received treatment demonstrates the benefit of cell therapy. If you like, please allow us to connect you with some of the patients who have benefitted from treatment at the Lung Institute. Feel free to call our patient coordinators at (855) 313-1149.

  6. Joe Mann

    3 years ago

    Are you sanctioned by The American Lung Assoc.

  7. Steve Howell

    3 years ago

    Good morning, Mr. Joyce.

    The Lung Institute might be able to help you. Please contact one of our patient coordinators at (855) 313-1149 with any questions you might have.

  8. Steve Howell

    3 years ago

    Hi Connie.
    I am so sorry to hear about the difficulties you are having. Perhaps you could consider crowdfunding. GoFundMe is a great way to crowdfund; we recently wrote a blog with a few other out-of-the-box fundraising ideas. You can read it here: http://lunginstitute.com/blog/fundraising-ideas/. If you would like to find out more about our available treatment options, and perhaps discuss funding treatment, please contact one of our patient care coordinators today at (855) 313-1149 to schedule a free consultation. Don’t give up.


    3 years ago


  10. Connie Justin

    3 years ago

    Hi: I’ve been diagnosed with bronchieactasis. It has gotten worse and I don’t have the $10,000 to do the cell thing. I can’t even see a good pulmonist because I don’t have the medical ins. I live in NYC but have a sister who lives in port st. Paul Lucy and is a senior like me and lives on a fixed income.. What can you do for me? Am desperate and want to die. I’m only 66 yrs old.

  11. Steve Howell

    3 years ago

    Hello, Ms. Ranard.
    I am so sorry to hear about the difficulties you and your husband are having. Thank you so much for sharing your story and reaching out. GoFundMe is a great way to crowdfund; we recently wrote a blog with a few other out-of-the-box fundraising ideas. You can read it here: http://lunginstitute.com/blog/fundraising-ideas/.

    I reached out to your patient coordinator, Sarah. She will be calling you in the next few days to see how the Lung Institute can help. You are so close, and we want to help you reach your goal. Above all, don’t give up.


  12. Brenda Ranard

    3 years ago

    I am desperately trying to get the funds for my husband, Danny Ranard, to go to the Lung Institute for cell therapy. His lungs are so bad. The lung doctor at the VA said that his left lung is basically non-existent. It is covered by a big blister and also has little blisters (not sure the correct term) at the bottom. He gets sick so easy. He is getting over pneumonia right now. Danny spoke with a doctor at the Lung Institute and he said that Danny would be a great candidate for this. His insurance doesn’t cover it and the VA sure won’t help. I made a gofundme page and have had bake sales/yard sales. We have about $2,000 so far. Is there any way possible to get payments set up? I just don’t know how to help. I don’t want to lose my husband! Every day that goes by is just another reminder that without this therapy or a miracle, he won’t survive. He was on Hospice care for two years and the VA abruptly took him off because he didn’t die in that two year time frame. They took away his oxygen and everything without any warning. I am begging for help. If there is any way in the world to get this done, please tell us. I know this will save his life. He is such a wonderful person. He is constantly helping others. It’s his turn to get help. Thank you for offering this amazing therapy. It sounds like the miracle I have been praying for. <3

  13. Steve Howell

    3 years ago

    Ms. Cummings–I found one scholarly article available online regarding MAC and lung disease here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15302746
    Best Regards,

  14. Marsha Cummings

    3 years ago

    Great information and advise!!! I wish there was more info on microbactrium m Avium aka (Mac)

  15. Patricia

    3 years ago


All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.