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How a Healthy and Nutritious Diet May Help to Control Asthma

Linda Crampton is a former teacher with an honors degree in biology. She enjoys writing about nutrition and the culture and history of food.

Many raw fruits are rich in vitamin C and other nutrients that may help to control asthma.

Many raw fruits are rich in vitamin C and other nutrients that may help to control asthma.

Asthma and Nutritious Foods

Asthma is a disease in which the airways in the lungs periodically become inflamed and swollen and the muscles around the airways tighten. These changes can make breathing very difficult. Doctors prescribe medications to asthmatics to help them control their disease. Although more research is needed, a growing body of evidence is showing that in combination with the medications, eating a diet containing certain nutrients and eliminating foods that are harmful may help asthmatics to control their disorder. I find that the combination is helpful for my asthma.

Any attempts to improve asthma with diet must be accompanied by the use of medicines prescribed by a doctor as well as the attempt to avoid triggers for the condition. The drugs are helpful for most people and have proven benefits. The effects of nutrition on asthma aren't as well known as the effects of medications. Following a healthy diet helps to prevent many health problems and is beneficial for everyone, however, whether or not they have asthma. If they eat nutritious foods, asthmatics will be able to experience the known benefits of the foods as well as any potential benefits for asthma.

Comparison of a normal airway and an airway during an asthma attack

Comparison of a normal airway and an airway during an asthma attack

What Happens During an Asthma Attack?

In people with asthma, the lungs are over-sensitive to a trigger that can cause irritated airways. The trigger causes the airways to become inflamed and swollen. Excess mucus is produced and blocks the passageways. In addition, the muscles around the airways tighten, making it hard to expand the passageways to obtain air.

People with asthma, or asthmatics, don't have a continual breathing problem. The difficulty appears after exposure to a trigger, which produces an asthma attack. There are a variety of possible triggers, including allergens, airborne irritants, chest infections, exercise, temperature changes in the air, food additives, certain medicines, and stress. At the moment, asthma is controllable but not curable.

Controlling Asthma

Many asthmatics can restore their breathing during an asthma attack by using a rescue inhaler, which is also called a reliever inhaler. The medication in the inhaler is traditionally delivered in a blue canister.

Asthmatics frequently take a daily corticosteroid medicine, which reduces inflammation in their airways and often prevents asthma attacks. As the doctor in the video above says, when asthma is under control, an asthmatic should be able to do everything that a non-asthmatic can do, including exercise.

Unfortunately, sometimes an asthma attack is so severe that prescribed medications don't help. This is a medical emergency. In addition, some people don't get as much help from prescribed asthma medications as others do.

Of course, asthmatics appreciate medications that restore their ability to breathe and prevent asthma attacks. I certainly do. All medications have potential side effects, though. In addition, some asthmatics go through periods when their asthma is not under control and they have more or worse attacks than usual. It would be very nice to have an additional way to protect the airways. Diet might be one of these ways.

An asthma rescue inhaler

An asthma rescue inhaler