Role of Nutrition in Asthma Prevention and treatment
The incidence of Asthma is rising all over the world and specially after the COVID 19 outbreak, people are more vulnerable to asthma and breathing related problems.
If you have asthma, you may be curious about whether certain foods and diet changes could help you manage your condition.
There is no magic-bullet food to cure asthma, however, making some changes in your diet may help reduce or control Asthma symptoms.
What should I eat to prevent Asthma?
Food also comes into play as it is related to allergies. Food allergies or intolerances due to a weak immune system can result into asthma symptoms.
There is no particular Asthma Diet, but yes, it is always a good idea to adhere to a healthy and heartful diet anyway!!
1. Reduce Obesity
According to American Thoracic society report notes, it shows that obesity is a major risk in developing and treating asthma as well.
Thus, maintaining a healthy weight may make it easier to manage your condition and avoid worsening of Asthma.
2. Go fresh and Colourful
Indulge in plenty of fresh greens and colourful fruits every day. Ideally you should consume 1 Fruit, 1 Green leafy vegetable and 1 Raw salad every day for getting enough fibre and antioxidants.
Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C and A are Lemons, oranges, strawberries, pineapple, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots and the list go on and on.
These foods increase your body’s immunity and can also help prevent allergies (According to study published in the NUTRITION REVIEWS, Volume 78, Issue 11, November 2020, Page 928- 938)
3. The Sunshine Vitamin
The sunshine vitamin or Vitamin D from the early morning sun should be a must for asthma prone people(Vitamin D plant sources mentioned in my previous article of Vitamin D)
4. Get your daily dose of Omega 3
Omega 3 fatty acids are found in Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines, flax seeds, Walnuts, Spinach, Urad dal and Milk.
These foods can help prevent allergies and give your body’s immunity a boost.
5. Food’s rich in Magnesium and Selenium
According to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, it was found that teenagers with low Magnesium levels also had a low lung flow and Volume.
Foods like spinach, eggs, Pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, Almonds, walnuts, dark chocolate, salmon are high in Magnesium and Selenium.
Also, consuming Magnesium supplements or inhaling Magnesium (through a nebulizer) is another good way to treat asthma attacks.
According to a study published in the European Respiratory Journal 2007 29;1161-1168, it was found that bananas might decrease wheezing in children with Asthma.
The power of this yellow fruit can be due to its rich potassium and antioxidant content, thus improving lung functioning
Ginger can do more than quell an upset stomach- it may also help relieve asthma symptoms. That’s because certain components in ginger might help relax the airways
Turmeric is loaded with curcumin that dilates the air passages.
So again, our grandmothers “TRADITIONAL HOT HALDI MILK” can work wonders in treating Asthma.
FOODS TO AVOID
1. Avoid trans fats
Due to high consumption of trans fats found in the junk and processed foods, we are bumping up our risk of many lifestyle disorders including asthma too!!
2. Foods causing Gases like cabbage, potatoes, beans
Also Consuming Pulses like Rajma, chole, chana without pre-soaking them are gas forming and usually put pressure on your diaphragm, especially if there is heart burn or acid reflux.
This may in turn cause chest tightness and trigger asthma flares further.
They are a common type of preservative commonly found in wine, pickled food, shrimps, bottled lemon or lime juice.
Although its rare, Salicylates found in coffee, tea and some spices can trigger asthma symptoms too!
5. Other Food triggers
Triggers can be from different foods in different people. Majority of toddlers find Cocoa and coffee a trigger for cold and recurrent asthma symptoms
6. Artificial ingredients
Chemical preservatives, flavorings and artificial colours (found in processed foods, chocolates, Gems, M & M, Jellies, candies) can also act as a trigger to asthma patients
Tobacco smoke, Campfires or wood burning fireplaces is a powerful asthma trigger for active as well as passive smokers (Passive, here I mean,non-smokers who are in the vicinity area of those who are smoking!!)
8. Fast food
Children with High consumption of fast food (thrice a week or more) are more likely to develop Asthma. So, its advisable to reduce junk food consumption
The Milk Myth
There is no evidence that eliminating all dairy products, especially milk from the diet improves asthma control.
This is simply a myth and eliminating dairy completely can in turn reduce the calcium intake overall, leading to osteoporosis or arthritis
Apart from nutrition, other steps can help you prevent asthma attacks.
It can be
- Getting a flu or pneumonia shot every year
- Tracking your asthma and monitor breathing to identify early warning signs of asthma worsening
- Keeping surroundings clean
- Avoiding dusting, use of perfumes, Agarbattis, deodorants in front of asthma prone people.
- Using dust covers on bed or pillows, avoid keeping pets.
Enjoy an Active lifestyle
Don’t let Asthma stop you being physically active. Medical practitioners recommend an overall healthy lifestyle to help manage the asthma symptoms.
It can be a healthy wholesome diet, regular exercise and meditation.
Hope this article has helped you provide the needed information about Asthma prevention and treatment. If yes, then do not hesitate to drop a review or comment below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sneha Jain, Dietician
Sneha is a Post graduate with specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a university topper and holds 5+ years of experience in Apollo hospitals, VLCC, slimsutra and first cry fit-kids . She has successfully counselled clients all over India for weight loss, weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, PCOD, hypothyroid, Pregnancy and lactation and growth charts for children. She has her own diet consultation e-clinic (diet_diariez)
She believes in customized diets and eating local and seasonal foods. Her counselling not only involves diet planning, but also lifestyle modification and stress relief strategies.