Diet for asthma: Does what you eat matter?

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Asthma is a prevalent chronic lung disease. No particular diet is advised for those who have asthma, however some evidence indicates that some foods may promote lung function, strengthen the immune system, and lessen asthma symptoms. Others, however, can exacerbate symptoms or raise the risk of getting asthma.

Some people may have food allergies, which can be challenging to manage when it comes to eating. Once they are recognised, it is crucial to stay away from certain items. Sulfites, for instance, are a preservative found in some products including wine, beer, some dried fruits and vegetables, pickled foods, shrimp, and some pickled foods. Some people's asthma may be triggered by eating a lot of sulfites.

Of course, it can be challenging to forgo wheat and dairy products, but there are alternatives.

When it comes to beverages, some people discover that alcohol aggravates their asthma. One in five adult asthmatics would claim that drinking alcohol in any form has worsened their condition at some point.

Being overweight puts more strain on the lungs, making it feel difficult to breathe. As a result of using steroid medications to treat their asthma, many patients report gaining weight, which they say can be challenging to manage because drugs increase hunger. People with asthma can maintain a healthy body weight by being active and eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat.

Foods to eat

Along with asthma treatment, people with asthma may benefit from certain nutrients, such as:

  • Vitamin C - Some rich sources of vitamin C include:

    • citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit
    • kiwi fruit
    • strawberries
    • cantaloupe
    • red and green peppers
    • broccoli
    • baked potatoes
    • tomatoes

  • Fresh Fruits & Vegetables

  • Vitamin D in foods and supplements - There is some evidence linking low vitamin D levels to a higher risk of asthma attacks in both children and adults. Additionally, it suggests that daily vitamin D supplementation can dramatically lower the chance of hospitalisation for a serious asthma attack. Additionally, vitamin D may improve lung health and lessen upper respiratory infections like the common cold.

    Some good food sources of vitamin D include:

    • fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
    • mushrooms
    • egg yolks
    • cheese
    • liver

  • Vitamin E - These are some excellent sources of vitamin E:

    • nuts like hazelnuts, peanuts, and almonds
    • sunflower seeds and broccoli
    • Fortified foods, such as cereal, fruit juice, margarine, and spreads 

  • Beta carotene - Beta carotene can be found in a variety of foods, including orange and red fruits and vegetables.
    Several instances include:

    • carrots
    • sweet potatoes
    • squash
    • red and yellow peppers
    • cantaloupe
    • apricots
    • dark leafy greens, such as kale and spinach

  • Antioxidants, such as selenium and flavonoids

  • Whole grains - Whole grain foods include:

    • whole oats
    • whole wheat pasta
    • buckwheat
    • bulgur wheat

Foods to avoid

People with asthma may want to stay away from  certain foods, including drinks and other substances, as they may exacerbate asthma symptoms.

People may want to refrain from:

  • sulfites
  • salicylates
  • allergens, which can differ from person to person
  • fast food, which is typically heavily processed