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Asthma and Dieting

Fitday Editor

As some asthma drugs are suspected of causing weight gain, people suffering from this chronic inflammatory disease need to learn about the connection between asthma and dieting. Besides counteracting obesity, a proper diet can also provide the necessary nutrients for improving the symptoms. Keep in mind, though, that a diet cannot replace the treatment and that the symptoms only improve temporarily.

Preventing Asthma with a Diet

According to recent studies, nutrition seems to play a rather important role in the development of asthma. More precisely, teens that follow a diet that does not provide plenty of nutrients are more susceptible to asthma. On the other hand, according to a study conducted in 2007, the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower asthma incidence among teens. This particular diet is based on the following foods, among others:

  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Nuts
  • Tomatoes

The aforementioned fruits, along with the nuts, abound in vitamins C and E, as well as in omega-3 fatty acids. All these have antioxidant properties, and as a consequence, they decrease the damage that is inflicted to cells. Besides these substances, there are several others that can be used in the prevention of asthma:

  • Beta carotene
  • Flavonoids
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium

Studies suggest that supplementing the intake of vitamins and minerals is beneficial for asthma, but there is no evidence that a deficiency of nutrients causes the lung infection in the first place.

Foods Recommended for Asthma

Some of the best foods recommended for people with asthma include:

  • Alaskan salmon
  • Brazil nuts
  • Carrots
  • Green leafy veggies
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams

All these are rich in nutrients, healthy fatty acids and antioxidants that improve the health of the lungs. Antioxidants also counteract the substances that are inhaled while breathing polluted air.

Bananas and green veggies are recommended for asthmatics because they contain a considerable amount of potassium. This mineral, along with other electrolytes, seems to provide some relief, particularly if asthma is caused by exercising.

Anti-inflammatory foods such as garlic and onions are also able to improve asthma symptoms. Along with chilis and other spicy foods, garlic and onions act as bronchodilators and widen the airways, allowing people who suffer from asthma to breathe with greater ease. Such foods also promote the secretion of watery fluids both in the mouth and on the surface of the airways. This way, irritation is relieved and the symptoms of asthma are improved overall.

Foods to Avoid

People suffering from asthma should avoid foods that contain additives such as sulfites. Such substances can easily trigger asthma attacks. Instead, people suffering from asthma should focus on a diet based on whole foods. Symptoms of asthma also tend to improve when the following a diet from which the following have been eliminated:

  • Caffeine
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Tap water

Dairy products also need to be avoided, because they act as irritants and cause phlegm. In order to see whether these are really harmful, people are recommended to try substitutes of dairy products for at least two weeks. Other foods that stimulate the production of phlegm include:

  • Banana
  • Curd
  • Papaya
  • Rice
  • Sugar

As a general idea, it is highly recommended to avoid dry foods that are hard to digest. While consuming such foods, the throat becomes irritated and asthma symptoms worsen.

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