Asthma: Diet is the key

Updated: Jan 8, 2019

5 Foods for easy breathing

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic illness characterized by symptoms of dyspnoea (breathlessness) and wheezing, chest tightness or bronchospasm.

These symptoms vary with severity and frequency from person to person.

People suffering from asthma symptoms can occur several times in a day or a week and for some people to get worse during physical activity or night.

Fighting Inflammation from 'The Doctors Book of Food Remedies'

Much of the battle against asthma is a battle against inflammation. When pollen, pollution, or other airborne irritants enter the lungs, the immune system releases chemicals to 'kill' the invaders. Unfortunately, the chemicals that are meant to defend you can actually a lot of harm. They cause the airways to become inflamed and swollen, which makes breathing difficult. At the same time, the body releases clouds of free radicals, the harmful oxygen molecules that make inflammation worse. This is why, in people with asthma, the airways tend to stay inflamed long after the attack is over.

One way to stop asthma is to reduce the inflammation. There is some evidence that food high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, which block the effects of free radicals, can help the airways return to normal.

  1. Vitamin C is naturally concentrated in the lining of the lungs, two large studies, the National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys, found that people who got the most vitamin C in their diets were much less likely to have respiratory diseases, including asthma, than those who got the least.

  2. Research suggest that vitamin E can dramatically lower the risk of asthma. In a large study of 75,000 nurses, for example, Harvard University researchers found that those getting the most vitamin E in their diets were 47 percent less likely to have asthma than those getting the least.

  3. Selenium is one of the trace minerals, which means that you don't need a lot of it. Like vitamin C and E, selenium is an antioxidant that can help protect the lungs from free radicals.

  4. In one study, English researchers exposed more than 2,600 people with asthma to an airway-constricting chemical. They found that those getting the least magnesium in their diets were twice as likely to have their airways shut down as those getting the most.

  5. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids found fish can help reduce inflammation in the lungs. Salmon, mackerel, and other oily fish, which are high in omega -3's, appear to be the best choices for stopping asthma. In one large survey, Australian researches found that families where people ate very little oily fish, almost 16 percent of the children had asthma. In families where these fish were frequently on the menu, however only 9 percent of the children had asthma. And in families where no fish was served, the rate of asthma in children was 23 percent.

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