Does diet play a role in asthma prevention or treatment?


Nutrition is directly linked to health, and for those who have asthma, it is all the more important to know about some dietary changes that may help.

According to Asma Alam, a consulting nutritionist and dietitian, while there is no compelling evidence that a particular diet influences the frequency or severity of asthma attacks, eating fresh, nutritious foods may help “enhance both your overall health and your asthma symptoms“.

“When it comes to allergies, food plays a role. When your immune system overreacts to specific proteins in meals, it causes food allergies and intolerances. This can cause asthma symptoms in certain people,” she says.

The expert adds that although there is no specific diet for asthma, there are certain foods and nutrients that may improve lung function; here are some of them.

Vitamin D: In children aged 6 to 15, getting enough vitamin D may help minimise the number of asthma attacks. Eggs, fortified orange juice, salmon, milk, and fortified milk are good sources of vitamin D. If you’re allergic to milk or eggs, you should avoid them. Asthma can develop as a result of allergic reactions to diet.

Vitamin A: Vitamin A levels in the blood of children with asthma are frequently lower than those of children without asthma. Higher vitamin A levels were linked to improved lung function in asthmatic kids. Vitamin A is found in the following foods: cantaloupe, leafy greens, such as romaine lettuce, kale, and spinach, carrots, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.

Fruits: An apple a day can help prevent asthma. Apples have been linked to a reduced risk of asthma and improved lung function. Bananas may help asthmatic children breathe easier. This could be related to the antioxidant and potassium components of the fruit.

Magnesium: Low magnesium levels were linked to lower lung flow and volume in children aged 11 to 19. Magnesium-rich foods such as pumpkin seeds, salmon, Swiss chard, dark chocolate, spinach, and others, can help kids improve magnesium levels.

An apple a day can help prevent asthma. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Foods to avoid

“Some foods should be avoided since they can aggravate asthma symptoms. However, before eliminating particular foods from your diet, you should check with your doctor,” says Alam.

* Sulfites are a form of preservative that might make asthma symptoms worse. Pickled foods, bottled lemon and lime juice, dried fruits, shrimp, maraschino cherries, and wine contain them.

* Various asthmatics may be sensitive to salicylates found in coffee, tea, and some herbs and spices, despite the fact that this is a rare occurrence. Salicylates are chemical substances that exist naturally and are occasionally found in foods.

* Processed and quick meals frequently contain chemical preservatives, flavourings, and colourings. These artificial additives may cause sensitivities or allergies in some asthmatics. A better diet may help you manage your asthma symptoms.

Most people who begin eating a healthy diet will feel an increase in energy levels. A better diet may also provide advantages like:

– lowered cholesterol
– blood pressure reduction
– improved digestion

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