Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs, mainly caused by a virus or bacteria, which can occur on its own or following a bout of flu. Pneumonia causes inflammation in the lung’s air sacs, also known as alveoli, which fill with fluid, causing shortness of breath, chest pain and high fever. Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to severe, surprisingly, pneumonia is the cause of more deaths worldwide than any other illness.
The severity of pneumonia usually depends on the cause of the infection and the person’s general health and age, with young children, the elderly, those with a chronic disease, or impaired immune systems being most at risk. Good nutrition can help boost the immune system, which may help to stave off pneumonia in the first place or shorten the duration and severity of symptoms. Below are some of the best foods and home remedies for pneumonia.
Antioxidant-rich herbs such as thyme are loaded with volatile oils that help to clear infections and support the lungs.
Consuming cayenne pepper helps to thin out mucus, which in turn loosens nasal and sinus congestion making breathing easier. Just 1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne powder mixed with the juice of 1 lemon makes a powerful potion that stimulates blood flow to the affected areas which in turn can help relieve pneumonia symptoms.
A homemade chicken broth made by slow boiling chicken bones for about 3 hours yields a host of immune boosting and inflammation-fighting nutrients. When boiled, the bones, marrow and cartilage break down into nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, silicon, sulfur, iodine and gelatin, all of which provide healing and easily absorbed nutrients to help inhibit viral or bacterial infections that can lead to pneumonia.
Ginger has potent anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties needed to fight off the viruses that lead to pneumonia. A combination of ginger, lemon and honey taken as a hot drink is a particularly beneficial and comforting way to help relieve pneumonia symptoms.
Lemons are anti-inflammatory and high in vitamin C, which kills viruses and bacteria directly and greatly enhances the ability of white blood cells to destroy pathogens. A warming tea made with ginger, honey and lemon juice provides a powerful punch against pneumonia symptoms.
Raw honey has antibacterial, antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiviral properties that are all needed to help fight pneumonia. It also soothes sore and scratchy throats and helps boost the immune system, which helps protect against future bouts of pneumonia. Choose raw honey, that ideally is local, because the commercially produced honey is often heavily processed and the vitamins, enzymes and pollen that make raw honey so beneficial have largely been destroyed.
Contrary to popular belief, vitamin C will not prevent the cold or flu virus that can lead to pneumonia but it can shorten the duration and severity of symptoms. As vitamin C protects the lungs from damage from harmful substances and pathogens and may help to prevent or manage bouts of pneumonia.
Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is needed for optimal immune function. It has potent antiviral effects as it is involved in activating T-cells to fight off invading microorganisms. One report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that school children taking vitamin D supplements were 58% less likely to catch the flu. It’s known that a large portion of the population is vitamin D deficient, which is increased during the winter months, so supplementing may help people who regularly succumb to pneumonia following cold and flu viruses.
Andrographis is an immunostimulant and an immunomodulator. It stimulates the immune system through increasing the production of anti-bodies in addition to enhancing the specific and non-specific immune response. Andrographis, therefore has the ability to reduce the severity and duration of an infection. Its strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-parasitic activities have given this herb a proven track record in treating influenza, upper respiratory tract infections, sore throats, common colds and parasitic infections of the gastro-intestinal tract.