While Asthma is a very challenging illness, it is also very treatable as there are various medications and devices that help relieve the symptoms. But if you have asthma, you might be curious about whether dietary choices can help manage your condition. Although, there’s no conclusive evidence that a specific diet has an effect on the frequency or severity of asthma attacks, there are certain nutrients that may help support lung functions. While more research is required in the field, early evidence suggests that while there is no single food or nutrient that reduce the airway inflammation of asthma on its own, eating a well-rounded diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables affect positively on asthmatics. Just as a healthy diet is good for everyone, it is also an integral part of overall asthma treatment plans. On top of that, certain doctors suspect that there might be a direct impact of foods you eat on asthma. But what is a good diet for an Asthmatic and does it deviate from regular diet because of your health condition? We come to you with Dietary Advice for Asthmatics and hope to help you with it along the way.
Asthma and Obesity – There are numerous studies that note that obesity is a major risk factor for developing Asthma. Obesity is also associated with severe asthma, as asthma in obese people is significantly more severe and harder to treat. Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight goes a long way to make it easier to cope with your condition.
Foods That You Need To Take
As mentioned before, there are no diet recommendations that eliminate asthma symptoms but there are some foods that help in lung function.
Vitamin D – Research has found that Vitamin D supplements reduce the risk of severe asthma attacks that may require hospital admission or the emergency department by half. But as good as supplements are, you can adjust your diet to include Vitamin D rich foods, if you prefer doing it the old-fashioned way. Sources of Vitamin D are Milk (and fortified Milk), Fortified Orange Juice and Eggs.
If you have allergies from milk and/or eggs, you might, for obvious reasons, want to avoid them.
Vitamin A – A recent study has concluded that levels of Vitamin A in children with Asthma were oftentimes lower than vitamin A levels in children without Asthma. Furthermore Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant and according to a study, Vitamin A, by offsetting oxidants and reducing external attacks in the form of bacteria, virus, toxins, xenobiotics in the lungs, antioxidant vitamins lessen the development of asthma. Good Sources of Vitamin A are Carrots, Cantaloupes, Sweet Potatoes and leafy greens.
Apples – As they say, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” the doctor in this case is your pulmonologist; studies have found that apples contribute to a lower risk of asthma and increase lung function.
Bananas – As mentioned before, antioxidants affect asthmatics positively and bananas are chock full of them. And they have potassium which further contributes in improving lung function.
Magnesium – The fact that magnesium inhaled through nebulizer stabilizes asthma attacks should give you a general idea of its benefits with asthma. Low magnesium levels in the body means low lung flow and volume. But it’s not like you have to wait for an asthma attack to have access magnesium when you can handily find it in spinach, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate.
Flaxseeds – You might’ve heard of this before, Flaxseeds are often recommended as natural remedies for pulmonary issues, does science back this up? Well if you’ve read this far, you should know the answer is yes. Both full of anti-inflammatory compounds and omega-3 fatty acids, Flaxseeds are considered Superfoods. Both anti-inflammatory compounds and omega-3 fatty acids are, according to multiple researches, effective in asthma.
Ginger – Inflammation is a major symptom of asthma, it causes the inner linings of airways to swell up and mucus is produced. Spices like Ginger have anti-inflammatory properties, which as mentioned before do help with asthma.
Honey – The universally recommended remedy for common colds, sore throats and coughing, it is taken in with tea or just warm water, and as if to further emphasize its claim at the term ‘Superfood’ it even helps in asthma. While its antibacterial properties are well documented, it is also anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, which as stated before are effective in asthma.
Foods That You Need To Avoid
We have told you the do’s, now for the don’ts. There are always some things you shouldn’t eat depending on your circumstances, and it’s no different here. There are some foods that worsen or trigger asthmatic symptoms that you will need to steer clear of.
Sulfites – They are naturally occurring minerals that are used as preservatives that can trigger asthma and/or allergic symptoms ranging from mild wheezing to potentially life threatening reactions. Sulfites are found in Wine, dried fruit, pickled food, shrimp, bottled lemon or lime juice.
Foods That Cause Gas – A large meal, however delicious it may be, and foods that cause bloating or gas can put pressure on your diaphragm, particularly if you have acid reflux. This may prompt asthma flare ups. So avoid foods like beans, cabbage, carbonated drinks, onion, garlic and fried foods.
Salicylates – Rarely but not never, individuals with asthma may be sensitive to salicylates, found in coffee, tea, almonds, apples, apricots, berries and some herbs and spices. They are naturally occurring compounds.
Artificial Ingredients – Several researches have linked processed food with rise in risk for asthma. So it goes without saying that asthmatics should try and avoid chemical preservatives, colorings and flavorings found in processed and/or fast food.
Common Allergens – While there are a few foods that do flare up asthma symptoms universally, food allergies are a different matter. People with food allergies often also have asthma so avoid foods that you might be allergic to.
Healthier diet may improve your asthma symptoms, but in the end, it really depends on you, your general health, your consistency in making changes and your symptom severity. If nothing else, healthier diet will improve your energy levels.