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Can Diet Help Control Asthma Symptoms?

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

can-diet-help-control-asthma-symptoms

Asthma Overview

As of 2019, asthma affected approximately 262 million people, and it caused 461,000 deaths worldwide. People living in lower-income countries are more often undiagnosed and under-treated.

Asthma is often a long term condition for children and adults, although some children seem to grow out of it. Inflammation and the tightening of the muscles around the small airways causes wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.

Asthma tends to run in families, and newborns with a low-birth weight, prematurity, tobacco smoke exposure or any source of air pollution put babies at a higher risk, as it causes their lungs passages tend to narrow. The symptoms are often worse at night.

Asthma symptoms for children or adults are typically triggered by pollen, dust, smoke, fumes, animal fur, feathers, perfume, soap with a strong odor or viral infections (like colds). Asthma is more common in people with other allergic conditions, such as rhinitis (hay fever) and eczema. Asthma is a noncommunicable disease (NCD).

Asthma Treatments

Asthma is treated with two main types of inhalers:

  1. Bronchodilators, which open air passages, relieving symptoms
  2. Steroids, reducing inflammation of the air passages thus reducing symptoms
Rescue Inhaler

Rescue Inhaler

Asthma Diet Research

There is a great deal of research on the effect of diets on asthma for adults and children. It reveals that processed food may be linked to an increase in the number of asthmatic patients. There is not a single food that improves asthma symptoms, however, asthma patients will benefit from eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables.

When you have food allergies and food intolerances your immune system is overreacting to specific proteins in food. This may result in asthma symptoms for some people.

Additionally, obesity is a major risk factor for developing asthma according to the American Thoracic Society (ATS). Maintaining a healthy weight makes managing asthma much easier.

One British research study concluded that children who eat bananas have a 34% less chance of developing asthma symptoms. However, the National Institute of Health states diet is a factor for children but not adults or pregnant women.

One smaller study of non-obese asthma patients found that exercise and a healthy diet improved their asthma symptoms. It did not, however, affect their airway inflammation (AHR). A characteristic of asthma is airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). Hyperresponsiveness may develop as a response to several inflammatory mediators, environmental irritants or pharmacologic agonists.

The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) emphasises the importance of not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding fast food. They state there is a benefit in the Mediterranean diet as it has an adequate intake of foods with folate, vitamins C and D.

Best and Worst Foods for Asthma

Recommended Diet

Many physicians recommend eating unprocessed Mediterranean foods and some examples of healthy food includes:

  • Vegetables - tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, onions
  • Fruits rich in vitamin C - oranges, grapes, peaches, melons, bananas
  • Nuts - almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts
  • Legumes - beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas
  • Tubers - potatoes, turnips, yams, sweet potatoes
  • Whole grains - Brown rice, rye, barley, whole oats, corn, whole wheat, pasta
  • Seafood and fish - salmon, trout, tuna, shrimp, clams, crab, sardines, mackerel
  • Drink enough water, red wine in moderation, coffee and tea without sugar

Eating good sources of food that have beta carotene, vitamin C and E will provide your body with antioxidants that should reduce inflammation in the lungs that is typically caused by free radicals (cell-damaging chemicals). Avoid foods that trigger your allergies. If you exercise after eating an allergy-causing food it will lead to asthma symptoms, like wheezing and shortness of breath.

Low levels of vitamin D can also lead to severe asthma, so if you do not drink milk, eat eggs or go into the sun, it might be wise to take a vitamin D supplement.

Sulfites have been used over the centuries as a food additive to preserve freshness and enhance flavors. People with asthma should avoid sulfites, which are found in wine, dried fruits, molasses, pickles, sauerkraut, fresh and frozen shrimp, bottled lemon, lime and grape juices.

can-diet-help-control-asthma-symptoms

Conclusion

Based on the research, children have a better chance of controlling their asthma symptoms than adults. Eating a healthy diet, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating vegetables and fruit and getting enough sleep are the things that make all of us healthier. Milk, eggs and fish are good sources of vitamin D, which can be especially important for asthmatic patients.

Avoiding allergy trigger foods is very important, and stay away from fast food. Of course, avoiding sulfites is very important. Healthy guidelines are a good idea for everyone. A healthy lifestyle will go a long way in preventing asthma symptoms or controlling the symptoms of any disease.

How to Start Mediterranean Diet

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2021 Pamela Oglesby

Comments

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 04, 2021:

Hi Peace,

It is good not to take good heath for granted. I'm glad you found this article helpful for asthma symptoms.

Thank you for your nice comments.

Blessings.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 04, 2021:

Hi Manatita,

There certainly are stress triggers and dies is just one aspect that may help control the symptoms.

I appreciate your comments, as always.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 04, 2021:

Hi MG,

I'm glad you found the article interesting with good information.

Thank you very much for your comments.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on July 03, 2021:

This is a very interesting article. As usual you have given a lot of information and I find it very valid.

manatita44 from london on July 03, 2021:

I think food can help, yes, and naturally the puffers you mentioned. Still, there are stress triggers too. Lovely and informative article as always.

Peace Tobe Dike from Delta State, Nigeria. on July 03, 2021:

These tips are very helpful. Thank you, Pamela for constantly putting out tip for us to takecare of our health. I personally do not take it for granted.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2021:

Hi Audrey,

I like the fact that we have people from around the world on Hubpages. I hope I help others. I am glad you may have learned a few things as well, as I always learn from you.

I always appreciate your comments, my special friend.

I hope you have a wonderful 4th fo July weekend!

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on July 02, 2021:

Your articles on health are so important. You help others that might never have the opportunity to learn the benefits of a healthy diet. Thank you for all you've taught me.

Stay well, my friend.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 02, 2021:

Thank you.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2021:

I agree that everyone would be healthier if they follow this diet.

I am a RN, but I also do a lot of research for every medical article. I appreciate your comments.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 02, 2021:

Pamela, thank you for the response. You'll always welcome. I though as a RN, you only write about medical assay. The asthma diet is a must for all.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2021:

Hi Miebakagh,

I could not agree with you more. Diets that are healthy and include those things you listed are going to help with any disease.

I am glad you liked the article. Thank you so much for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2021:

Hi Vidya,

It seems like we all know people who suffer from asthma. I should have mentioned Tumeric as I have used it when my lupus was flared up, and I think it would help asthma patients.

I appreciate your comments, as always.

VIDYA D SAGAR on July 02, 2021:

A very informative and helpful article Pamela. I know many who suffer from Asthma. I will share your article with them. Turmeric sure helped me when I had allergic bronchitis. It has natural anti inflammatory properties. Including fruits and vegetables in the diet does have many health benefits. Thanks for sharing.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 02, 2021:

Pamela, just by reading through the various comments, I realize your readers found this astma diet a useful remedy. The buttomline:asthma or no asthma, a diet rich in fruits and vegges more matter, nuts and seeds, medicinal roots and herbs, can relieve us of most cold symptoms. Your article is a great read.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2021:

Hi Flourish,

You make a good point. The good news is we might we able to control the severity of the symptoms or maybe the disease overall.

I appreciate your comments, as always. Take care.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 02, 2021:

This is excellent, well-researched information as always. You always hear so much about dust and dander in the environment that it's good to know that there are other (internal, controllable) factors at work too.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2021:

Hi Rawan,

I am glad you found this article to be helpful. I appreciate your comments. Have a good weekend!

Rawan Osama from Egypt on July 02, 2021:

Its very helpful, dear Pamela.

Thanks for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2021:

Hi Bill,

I'm glad you don't have asthma and your allergies are very common. I think trying diet changes might be interesting just to answer your question.

I am glad you liked this article. Thank you so much for your comments.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on July 02, 2021:

Great information, Pam. I don’t have asthma but I do have allergies, mostly to the usual culprits, dust, pollen, etc. I wonder if diet can even affect the bodies reaction to allergies? This is great information for anyone suffering out there.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2021:

Hi Olusegun,

Thank you so much for reading and for your generous comments. They are always appreciated.

OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on July 02, 2021:

I read this article, and I can say it is wonderfully written, you have drawn out from the cistern of your experiences as RN to write this and it is enriched, full of blessings, directional which would help anyone who is affected and or who has a person with related infirmity to keep himself whole living a long life, for all over the world, humanity wants to increase the longevity. It is sincerely a good work.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 02, 2021:

Hi Alyssa,

I really wasn't sure about that until I read numerous studies as I really wanted to know the answer. I am glad you liked the article.

Thank you for your comments. Stay safe and healthy!

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 01, 2021:

Pamela, you're welcome.

Alyssa from Ohio on July 01, 2021:

What a fascinating read, Pamela! Eating healthy is important and it's wonderful to know that eating the right foods can help ease asthma symptoms.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi Shauna,

I'm glad you found this article informative. It seems so many people have asthma. We all know someone who is dealing with asthma.

I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 01, 2021:

Very interesting and informative article, Pamela. I don't have asthma, but I know several people who do.

The advice you offer here is actually beneficial for everyone regardless of whether or not they suffer from asthma.

Great write!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

I'm glad you found this article informative. I appreciate your comments, pratik.

pratik987 from Canada on July 01, 2021:

Informative

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi Peggy,

This information makes you wish you had aleways eaten a healthy diet, but there is no time like the present.

I appreciate your comments. I hope you are having a very good day.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 01, 2021:

It would appear that eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise affects so many parts of our health. No surprise there. Turmeric does work to reduce inflammation.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi Linda,

Inflammation is a part of asthma, which makes asthma worse. Some foods cause inflammation that impact asthma, arthritis and probably other diseases as well.

Yes, the good foods are helpful. I appreciate your comments, as always.

I hope you are having a very good day, Linda.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on July 01, 2021:

Pamela, a very well-written article. Is inflammation one of the keys to asthma? It seems your list of "good foods" is full of anti-anflamatories. This is good to know.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi Heidi,

Many people do have a nut allergy, so you are fortunate. It is interesting that dogs and cats get so many of the same diseases as human beings. I'm glad you watch your dog's diet. I love dogs.

I should have mentioned turmeric, as it is good to reduce inflammation. Thank you for your comments.

Stay safe and healthy!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi Rozlin,

I am glad you found this article helpful and informative. I hope you mother-in-law is doing okay.

Thank you so much for your comments, my friend.

Blessings to you also.

Rozlin from UAE on July 01, 2021:

This is an informative and helpful article on asthma, Pamela. Thanks a lot for sharing the healthy diet in your article. My mother in law suffers from asthma. She uses that inhaler you have shown in picture. This article is very helpful for all the asthma patients. Stay safe and healthy. Blessings to you dear friend

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on July 01, 2021:

I've noticed that some foods can trigger allergy symptoms for both myself and my dog. We have to watch my dog's diet carefully (no grains or potatoes). I also use turmeric supplements which really help with inflammation.

And I'm so glad that I can have tea and nuts in my diet! (Glad I don't have a nut allergy!)

Thanks for the great info!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi Misbah,

I am sorry to hear your PCR tested positive. I hope you are one of those people who are positive without symptoms. I hope your asthma has been under control.

I am so glad this article explained asthma more clearly, along with some things that may help. Thank you so much for your comments. They mean a lot to me.

Much love and blessings for you. I will be praying for your good health.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on July 01, 2021:

Pamela, thank you very much for providing this helpful article. I have asthma, and you explained everything in this article really clearly. I wasn't feeling well from last few days. So, I had a PCR and received the results yesterday; I tested positive. I only hope it won't aggravate my asthma.

Blessings and Love to you

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi Devika,

Maybe you friend would get some relief by changing her diets. It is more difficult with adults than with children.

I am glad you found this article informative. I appreciate your comments, as always. Stay safe and healthy.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 01, 2021:

Pamela, Useful, informative, well-researched and health information is always important. My friend has asthma she has had this problem for years. I learned a lot from your hub. You write most informative health articles. Thank you for thinking of the many health problems one has to be aware of and know the symptoms of.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi Miebakagh,

I am glad you found the article informative and interesting.

I appreciate your comments. Have a wonderful day.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi Chitrangada,

A child's asthma is more easily controlled by diet than an adults. I do think from all the studies I read that the right diet will sure cut done on the symptoms of asthma, which is a welcome relief to patient's. I hop this article helps those people you know with asthma.

Thank you so much for your generous comments. Have a wonderful day.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 01, 2021:

Interesting, informative, and educating health article. Thanks.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 01, 2021:

A very well written and informative article about Asthma. It’s good to know that it can be controlled and managed by right and healthy eating habits. The list of food items, suggested by you sound quite healthy.

I know some people, who are affected by asthma. Would share your article with them.

Thank you for sharing another valuable article.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi Ms Dora,

Improving your eating habits should help, but they may still have to use a daily inhaler. Knowing if you have allergies is also very helpful, then you know what to avoid. I hope the article helps your friends.

Thank you so much for your comments. Have a wonderful day!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi Bill,

Dust mites are a common allergy. I'm glad Bev is free of asthma. Life is great!

I appreciate your nice comments, as always. Have a wonderful day!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 01, 2021:

Very helpful. I know several people who suffer from asthma. Their eating habits could be a real problem unless they are careful. Forwarding your article.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 01, 2021:

For twenty years Bev was diagnosed as having asthma, and she used an inhaler. Turns out she's just allergic to dust mites. lol No more inhaler and life is good.

As always, a wonderful article written in a way we all can understand. Well done!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi Cheryl,

I hope the information helps your daughter. Thank you for commenting.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on July 01, 2021:

I will share with my daughter who has asthma

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi Rosina,

The diet will probably help your sister, even though she is much better. I am so glad this article was helpful for you.

I appreciate your comments, as always. Stay safe and healthy,

Blessings.

Rosina S Khan on July 01, 2021:

I am glad to know about asthma from this article. As a child, my youngest sister suffered seriously from asthma but now as an adult, she is much better. I will pass this article to her.

That a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables and vitamin D is ideal for adult asthmatic patients too was really good to know. Thank you, Pamela, for this really helpful and knowledge-rich article.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2021:

Hi EK,

I am glad you found these tips useful. Thank you so much for your comments.

I hope you stay safe and healthy also.

EK Jadoon from Abbottabad Pakistan on July 01, 2021:

You have shared some useful tips for asthmatic problems. Glad to know that asthema in children can be controlled through diet.

Stay safe and healthy...

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