Are you frequently out of breath? Have coughing and wheezing reduced your quality of life? If you nodded positively, you might have asthma.
Asthma is a lung disease in which the airways in the lungs get bigger and then smaller, making it hard to breathe. Mucus production in the airways may also be excessive. Asthma and its flare-ups can have a negative impact on your lung health.
Continuous wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath can reduce your quality of life. Nevertheless, the condition varies widely amongst patients.
At the same time, inhalers and other traditional treatments can provide relief. But, unfortunately, you may become dependent on them and encounter adverse effects.
Asthma patients should learn to manage their diet and lifestyle for a better quality of life. You must avoid foods that trigger the symptoms and include foods that mitigate them.
A healthy diet can improve lung health, which can make a big difference and help you deal with your condition in a safe, natural, and effective way.
Asthma and Diet – What’s the Connection?
Asthma is a severe disease that affects children and adults and is surprisingly common. Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma and those who suffer from it experience persistent symptoms. These include chronic shortness of breath. Consequently, everyone, but especially people with long-term conditions like asthma, needs to eat well.
If you do not receive enough nutrients, your body may be more prone to disease. As a result, you may have a more difficult time battling the respiratory infections that frequently trigger an asthma attack or severe asthma emergency.
Food plays a vital part in maintaining health. It is true for persons with asthma as well because food also has a role in allergies. Food allergies and intolerances develop when your immune system reacts abnormally to specific proteins in foods. In some situations, this can cause asthma symptoms. However, specific food limitations can help you manage your asthma and general health.
Some foods may be better than others for people with asthma for various reasons. For starters, let’s consider food high in nutrients. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. According to research, they aid in removing free radicals from the body which helps to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
Plant-based diets that emphasise fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are also good for asthmatics. In addition, minimising dairy and high-fat meats can help prevent asthma and relieve its symptoms.
According to one study, a well-rounded, whole, nutrient-rich diet high in vegetables and fruits and low in items that trigger your asthma symptoms is the key to natural recovery. It can even assist you in maintaining healthy body weight.
According to another study, being overweight can increase asthma symptoms. Therefore, eating a balanced diet may be beneficial. This type of diet helps keep asthma flare-ups at bay. Furthermore, it also supports good lung health and meets all your nutritional needs. It manages your condition for your overall health.
Foods to Include in an Asthma Diet
Fighting a chronic disease is exhausting and may necessitate several day-to-day modifications. Asthma patients should eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meals that are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and magnesium.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
A healthy, well-balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables may lower the chance of acquiring asthma. Also, because they are low in calories, they promote a healthy weight. In addition, they include vital elements supporting lung function.
A recent study also discovered links between a high intake of fruits and vegetables and reduced asthma symptoms such as wheezing.
Antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamins C and E are abundant in fruits and vegetables. People who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, especially apples and oranges, are less likely to get asthma or wheeze.
According to one study, bananas may reduce the prevalence of wheezing in children. It is due to their antioxidant and potassium levels, which can improve lung function.
Broccoli, berries, leafy greens, melon, and avocados are vital fruits and vegetables to incorporate into your diet.
Low magnesium levels decrease lung flow and volume in children. Conversely, a magnesium-rich diet can assist in enhancing lung flow and volume.
According to studies, evidence has emerged in recent years to support using magnesium supplements to reduce inflammation. They relax the bronchial muscle, allowing air to leave the lungs.
According to another research, inhaling magnesium (through a nebuliser) is another effective technique to treat asthma episodes.
One can consume magnesium-rich foods like:
Dark chocolatesPumpkin seeds SpinachSwiss chard Salmon
Consuming whole grains can aid in reducing asthma symptoms. According to one study, people who ate a balanced diet rich in whole grains had fewer asthma symptoms and better asthma management overall. Whole grain sources include:
Bread, crackers, or pasta made from whole wheatBarleyOatmeal Rice (brown)Buckwheat
Getting adequate vitamin D may lower the incidence of asthma attacks in children. Vitamin D sources include the following:
SalmonMilk and fortified milk.Eggs Fortified orange juice
If you are allergic to milk or eggs, you should avoid them as a source of vitamin D. Food allergies can cause asthma.
Tocopherol, a molecule found in vitamin E, is a potent antioxidant. It can also help with asthma symptoms like wheezing and coughing. Good sources of vitamin E to include are:
A study discovered that children with asthma had lower levels of Vitamin A in their blood than children without asthma. Adults and children may benefit from Vitamin A, commonly known as carotenoids. Vitamin A can help fight oxidative stress and maintain a healthy immune system due to its potent antioxidant capabilities.
According to research, high dietary consumption of vitamin A-rich foods such as tomatoes, carrots, and leafy vegetables such as romaine lettuce, kale, and spinach can enhance lung function and minimise asthma attacks in adults with asthma.
Foods to Avoid in an Asthma Patient’s Diet
Some foods can cause asthma attacks. Avoid the following foods:
Eating large meals or foods that induce gas or bloating can pressurise your diaphragm. It makes breathing more difficult, especially if you have acid reflux. In addition, it can cause chest tightness and asthma flare-ups.
Among these foods are:
BeansCabbageCarbonated beveragesOnionsGarlicFried foods
Sulfites, a preservative widely added to foods and beverages to improve their taste, appearance, or shelf life, may aggravate asthmatic symptoms.
They are present in the following:
WinePickled foods, dried fruitsMaraschino cherriesBottled lemon and lime juiceShrimp
You must avoid fast food since it contains high quantities of saturated fat, additives, and sodium. It can increase health risks and worsen symptoms in people who have asthma.
According to one study, people who ate fast food more than twice a week were more likely to develop severe asthma and wheeze than people who ate fast food less than twice a week.
Although uncommon, certain asthmatics may be sensitive to salicylates in coffee, tea, herbs, and spices. Salicylates are naturally occurring chemical compounds. One study discovered that aspirin, which contains salicylate, aggravated asthma in some people.
The HealthifyMe Note
Although there is no specific diet to minimise or prevent asthma, many foods and beverages affect asthma symptoms. A diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in processed, oily, and fried meals can aid asthma management. On the other hand, some foods may increase symptoms for some people. The best strategy to properly manage your disease is to maintain a healthy weight and eat healthy food for a healthy you.
Asthma Diet – Reference Meal Plan for Seven Days
Breakfast: One cup of Boiled Veg. Salad (carrots, broccoli, spring onions, corn) + Orange juice (1 cup)Mid-Meal: Pomegranate (½ cup) + Guava (1)Lunch: Parboiled Rice (1 cup) + Veg. curry (½ cup) + Dal soup (½ cup) + ¼ fresh lemonEvening: Green Tea (1 cup) + Almonds (4) + Raisins (5-6)Dinner: Multigrain Chapati (2) + Chicken Stew (½ cup)
Breakfast: Soy Milk (200ml) + Cornflakes + Ripe Banana (1)Mid-Meal: Orange (1) + Grapes (½ cup)Lunch: Brown Rice (1 cup) + Veg. curry (½ cup) + Daal soup (½ cup) + Yoghurt (¼ cup)Evening: Green Tea (1 cup) + Almonds (4) + Raisins (5-6)Dinner: 2 Chapati + Veg. Curry (½ cup)
Breakfast: Oats (1 Cup) + Skimmed milk (½ cup)Mid Meal: Tender coconut water (1 glass)Lunch: Rice (½ cup) + Broccoli curry (1 cup) + Salad (½ cup)Evening: Homemade Tomato Soup (1 cup)Dinner: Chapatis (2) + Round Gourd Curry (½ cup)
Breakfast: Mix veg poha (1 Cup) + Herbal tea (1 Cup)Mid Meal: Pomegranate (1 cup)Lunch: Chapattis (2) + Masoor dal (1 Cup) + Salad (½ Cup)Evening: Soaked Almonds (4-5) + Raisins (5-6)Dinner: Chapatis (2) + Carrot sabzi (1 Cup)
Breakfast: Soy Milk (200ml) + Cornflakes + Ripe Banana (1)Mid-Meal: Orange (1) + Grapes (½ cup)Lunch: Brown rice (1 cup) + Veg. curry (½ cup) + Daal soup (½ cup) + 1/4th fresh lemonEvening: Green Tea (1 cup) + Almonds (4-5) + Raisins (5-6 Nos)Dinner: Chapati (2) + Chicken stew (½ cup)
Breakfast: Veg. Sandwich (2) + Orange juice (1 cup)Mid-Meal: Pomegranate (1/2 cup)Lunch: Parboiled Rice (1 cup) + Chicken curry (1/2 cup) + Daal soup (1/2 cup)Evening: Tomato soup (1 cup)Dinner: Chapati (2) + Veg. Curry (½ cup)
Breakfast: Veg poha (1 cup) + orange juice (1 cup)Mid Meal: Sprouts (½ cup)Lunch: Brown rice (½ cup) + bitter gourd sabzi (1 cup) + yogurt (1/2 cup)Evening: Herbal tea (1 Cup) + 2-3 biscuits (Nutrichoice or digestive)Dinner: Chapattis (2) + chicken curry (1 cup)
Managing Asthma like a Pro
People with any kind of health problem need to watch what they eat and drink to stay healthy. Changing your diet can be intimidating. Allow yourself grace throughout the process and make little, steady changes. If you have asthma, realise that you are not alone. For example, reach out to coaches at HealthifyMe. You can get suggestions, helpful information, and real-time nutritional recommendations from specialists.
Although a healthy, well-balanced diet will not cure asthma, it will improve your overall health. In addition, it may help minimise your symptoms and improve your lung function.
When tracking your asthma symptoms, evaluate everything that could have triggered the attack. Start noting the meals you ate before the episode if you have not already. Also, it assists you in determining potential lifestyle modifications to help you properly manage your disease. Always consult with your nutritionist before making significant dietary adjustments.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What foods trigger asthma?
A. This is a very subjective question. Your asthmatic triggers may be very different from those of another asthmatic. The following are some of the most common triggers: Tobacco, smoke, dust mites, polluted outdoor air, dogs, mould, cleaning and disinfection.
Q. What should asthmatics avoid?
A. If you have asthma, you should avoid meals that cause asthma symptoms—for example, gassy foods, sulfites, chemical preservatives, colourings, and flavourings. In addition, limit your consumption of beans, carbonated beverages, cabbage, garlic, fried meals, onions, and omega-6 fatty acids. These are in refined oils such as flaxseed, hempseed, and grapeseed oils, as well as raw sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, and pistachios.
Q. What drink is good for asthma?
A. Certain herbal teas may help reduce the symptoms of asthma. For example, ginger tea, green tea, black tea, eucalyptus tea, fennel tea, and liquorice tea may reduce inflammation, relax your respiratory muscles, and improve your breathing.
Q. Are eggs good for asthma?
A. Eggs do not directly benefit asthmatics but provide vitamin D, which may be protective. However, avoid eggs if you’re allergic to them as they aggravate asthma. Asthmatics should be aware that even a minor egg allergy or sensitivity might trigger an asthma attack.
Q. Can bananas treat asthma?
A. Bananas are believed to reduce wheezing in children and enhance lung function. In addition, it is beneficial to asthmatics due to its high antioxidant and potassium content.
Q. How can I fix my asthma naturally?
A. Try meditation and yoga, acupuncture and steam baths. Have balanced diets that include garlic and ginger, and Omega 3s foods.
Q. What are treatments for asthma?
A. The primary treatment is inhalers, devices that allow you to breathe in the medicine. However, if your asthma is severe, you may require medicines and other therapies. Inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs), long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs), combination inhalers, and theophylline are some more types of asthma treatments.