Foods To Eat And Avoid If You Have Asthma

Foods To Eat And Avoid If You have Asthma
Foods To Eat And Avoid If You have Asthma

Asthma can be crippling if you don’t learn to manage it properly. Knowing what aggravates the condition can make a huge difference. The same goes for paying attention to what soothes inflammation in your airways. But does diet matter? Surprisingly, unlike many conditions where diet is central to holistic treatment and management, there is no solid information on asthma just yet. This includes whether or not certain foods can improve (or worsen) asthma.

In spite of the conflicting views on the influence of diet, some things are a given. Certain foods may be problematic if you have allergic conditions. Others may give your body the added protection it needs through antioxidant or anti-inflammatory action. Together, these foods can form your very own anti-asthma diet.

Foods That Are Good For You

1. Vitamin D-Rich Foods

Research indicates that there could be a link between widespread vitamin D deficiency found today and the growing incidence of asthma. Vitamin D deficiency is typically due to more sedentary indoor lifestyles, away from the sunshine that can help your body produce this vitamin. The immunomodulatory effects of

vitamin D may ease respiratory symptoms, fighting inflammation in your airways and allowing you to breathe easier.1Try to expose yourself to adequate sunshine, but take note of safety precautions. You can also boost your vitamin D levels by consuming fortified cereal and dairy, egg yolks, and fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, or tuna.

2. Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Foods containing high levels of antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, carotenoids, polyphenols, and selenium have been linked to better control of asthma.2Try increasing your intake of carrots and tomatoes for the vitamins. Drink green tea for the polyphenols and eat turkey, chicken, sardines, and halibut for selenium. The L-glutathione in avocados is also legendary for its antioxidant benefits.

3. Choline-Rich Foods

Foods rich in B vitamin choline, like peanuts, eggs, and liver, can also offer you relief. Researchers believe this vitamin

may reduce the frequency of asthma attacks. It may even positively impact the severity of each episode.3

4. Anti-inflammatory Foods

Add a pinch of anti-inflammatory turmeric4or grate some ginger5into your food for added protection against general inflammation.

5. Quercetin-Rich Foods

Found in onions, quercetin is a flavonoid or antioxidant that can lower the histamine released by your body during an allergic response. It cuts inflammation and can ease allergic symptoms. A lab study found that quercetin intake can help dilate the airways to the lungs and lower their hyperactivity. This will allow you to breathe in and out more freely. Just don’t expect instant results, though. Researchers noted that it took about five hours for these effects to kick in. Hold on to that inhaler for now, but

amp up your quercetin quotient.6

Foods To Skip

According to research, the prevalence of asthma has increased significantly in recent times. This has caused authorities to take notice. Theories as to why this has happened include the dietary changes we have experienced in the past few decades.

1. Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Consuming very high levels of omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 could be one such reason. Vegetable oils including sunflower, soybean, palm, and rapeseed oils contain omega-6 fatty acids. Salad dressings and mayonnaise as well as many packaged snacks and red meats like pork and beef (especially in a processed form like sausage) contain omega-6. These fatty acids are linked to inflammation and can aggravate asthma. Unfortunately, the problem can’t be fixed by simply taking omega-3 supplements – these have next to no effect here. This is why going easy on the omega-6 fatty acids may be a better idea until research firmly explains the link to asthma.

While the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 1, actual levels consumed are closer to 15 to 1. In some cases, they can be even close to 16.7 to 1. If you have asthma, aim to bring levels down to at least 5 to 1 for beneficial effects.7

2. Allergens

The bigger concern people have is whether certain foods can trigger an attack. In general, food and additives, including chemicals and preservatives, do not wreak havoc by themselves. These don’t cause asthma nor do they trigger an attack. However, for the 5 percent (or less) of people who have a certain food allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance, the allergic reaction to a certain foods can spark a bout of asthma as a side effect. Here are some common triggers.8

  • Wheat, Nuts, Shellfish, And Other Common Allergens: Get yourself tested for common food allergens. This may include peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, wheat, and eggs.
    Remember, if you aren’t allergic to these foods, you should go ahead and enjoy them. Skipping these items will rob your body of the nutrition they provide.
  • MSG And Sulfites: Monosodium glutamate (MSG) lends a distinctive flavor to food and is commonly added to soy sauce, packet soups, and stock cubes. But if you are sensitive to MSG, it may bring on an asthma attack. Sodium metabisulphite and sulfur dioxide are common additives used to preserve wines, dried fruit, fruit juices, and canned fish that can trigger allergies and asthma in some.
  • Instant Coffee, Beer, And Tomato Sauce: The foods in this unlikely combination have one thing in common – they all typically contain salicylates. As many as 5 to 10 percent of people with asthma are sensitive to these items.

Now if you’re wondering what happens if you accidentally eat something that you are sensitive to, don’t press the panic button just yet. As one test on sulfite-sensitive asthmatics revealed, every individual did not always react after consuming a food with a sulfite. Whether or not you experience a bout of asthma

will depend on the extremity of your sensitivity and the amount of sulfite in the food.9

Maternal Diet And Childhood Asthma

Smaller studies have shown that a deficient or inadequate intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients by a pregnant woman could be linked to childhood asthma in their offspring. These nutrients include selenium, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin E, and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Early studies are exploring how altering PUFA intake and taking vitamin D supplements can sidestep the possibility of childhood asthma.10One study found that children of mothers who increased vitamin D intake during pregnancy saw a reduction in the risk of their children developing wheezing symptoms in early childhood (age five

and under).11