To eliminate your wheezing, you need to prevent or lessen the swelling, and asthma diets can go a long way in helping you accomplish that goal.
What Is an Asthma Diet?
Nutrition is the foundation for your health. When you eat a variety of healthy foods, your organs, muscles and respiratory system receive the nutrients they need to function at an optimal level. While physicians customize asthma diets to meet the needs of individual patients, the common theme for all asthma diets is to eat healthy, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains and lean proteins.1 Below are some specific foods and nutrients to seek out, as well as those you should avoid.
What Your Respiratory System Needs
Produce is rich in vitamins A, C and E, as well as phytochemicals. These nutrients are essential to bronchial tissue health.
This element will help keep your airways’ muscle fibers relaxed. Magnesium rich foods include dark leafy greens, avocado, and fish.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a healthy fat. Insufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids can make your lungs and airways sensitive to airborne irritants and prone to swelling. Get your omega-3s from flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, cod liver oil, tofu and more. Fish oil supplements are a popular item in drug stores, but be sure to research which products actually deliver the right amount of omega-3.
The soluble fiber packed into fresh fruits, and veggies boosts your immune system and helps your lungs resist irritation.
What to Avoid
The other side of an asthma diet is knowing what not to eat.
It’s widely believed that today’s modern diets are partly to blame for rapidly increasing asthma rates2, as well as high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes. Also, food allergies (particularly those including man-made chemicals) can trigger asthma symptoms.
Here are some guidelines on foods to avoid:
The additives, preservatives and colorings in processed foods, such as frozen meals and foods with long shelf lives, can cause respiratory malfunction. Even in our fast-paced lives, it’s important to ‘go fresh’ whenever possible.
Stay away from the trans-fats, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and sulfites nightmare of fast foods. Your asthma symptoms may lessen, and you’ll probably shed a few pounds too. If you’re on the go and instant meals are your only option, scope out a franchise that offers fresh alternatives. Better yet, look for the nearest grocery story that offers an ‘on the go’ salad bar.
There’s a swirl of controversy surrounding the health effects of dairy products. Scientific consensus seems to be at odds on the matter. While some within the health community believe dairy products can trigger asthma3, other studies have shown drinking milk lowers the risk of asthma4. That’s why it’s best to listen to your body and talk to your doctor.
Sugar has no nutritional value, and its degenerative effect on the pancreas can cause inflammation of the airways.
It’s hard for sure in our world of accessible sweets and treats, but avoid high-sugar products whenever possible, ESPECIALLY if you have asthma. There are many options that are pleasant to the palate without being high in sugar.
An asthma diet has the potential to prevent or alleviate wheezing by increasing your overall health. Sure, it may take a little more work on your part, but the results can be truly life-changing.
1“Asthma,” Viva Life Science, http://www.vivalife.com/asthma.
2“Asthma,” 1995, Institute for Optimum Nutrition, http://www.ion.ac.uk/information/onarchives/asthma.
3“Asthma explained by common allergy to milk and dairy products,” August 4, 2005, Natural News, http://www.naturalnews.com/010443_cows_milk_asthma.html
4“Dairy Products,” National Asthma Council Australia, http://www.nationalasthma.org.au/publication/dairy-products