Increasing your lung power can help stave off damage and disease, so give these simple puff-boosting tips a go.

 Take a deep breath... 

  • Breathe from your abdomen for at least five minutes a day. This is diaphragmatic breathing, which involves training and strengthening your diaphragm so that it requires less effort to take in each breath.

  • Eat apples. A study found that people who crunched into more than five a week had improved lung function, less wheeziness and fewer asthma-like symptoms.

  • Look on the bright side of life. When Harvard researchers followed 670 men with an average age of 63 for eight years, they found that the optimists had much better lung function and a slower rate of lung-function decline than their pessimistic peers.

  • Read the small print on household cleaners. Some products, such as oven cleaner, can be toxic if inhaled. If the instructions say open a window, be sure to follow them.

  • Have a glass of white. Wine, but particularly white wine, seems to help your lungs, possibly because of high antioxidant levels. But it doesn’t work with other tipples.

  • Breathe in through your nose, which has natural filters, and out through your mouth in dry, very cold or hot weather, or in dusty or polluted air. If you breathe in through your mouth, everything goes straight into the lungs.

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