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While there is no special asthma diet, those with this respiratory condition are encouraged to follow a healthy diet as the risk of asthma increases with being overweight, being obese and eating a diet high in processed foods.
In fact, some researchers believe that the association between the increased prevalence of asthma and the declining quality of the American diet should not be ignored. The lack of fruit and vegetables, which pack a strong antioxidant punch, may put someone at an increased risk for developing this respiratory condition.
Some studies show that individuals who eat diets higher in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, flavonoids, magnesium, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids have lower rates of asthma. A healthy diet seems to play a role in reducing the hyperactivity of immune cells, making them less prone to react to allergens and pollution, two contributing factors to asthma.
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- Helps the asthmatic connect how what they eat affects their health
- Many of the asthma-trigger foods are not healthy, so avoiding them promotes a healthy lifestyle
- Promotes the feeling of self-empowerment
- Not eating certain trigger foods is much less expensive and less invasive than taking asthma medications
- No trigger or asthma-reducing foods have been clearly identified
A healthy diet is integral to reducing risk of asthma as well as controlling symptoms in the asthmatic individual. There is some scant evidence to suggest that certain foods exacerbate respiratory challenges. Foods like dairy, chocolate, refined sugars and refined flours may create excess mucus in the airways and thus produce more asthmatic symptoms.
Certain additives, like sulfites, may make asthma worse. Therefore, people who are sensitive to sulfites and have asthma, should avoid such foods altogether. And nearly 70 percent of those with asthma also have GERD or acid reflux. This can make asthma much more challenging to control.
One such ingredient, caffeine, may offer a slight relief from asthmatic symptoms because of its ability to temporarily reduce inflammation in the airways.
In general, an asthma preventive diet should include as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible as well as healthy fats, especially from oily fish.
A sample day might look like this:
- Breakfast: Fruit salad topped with walnuts and flax seeds and coffee.
- Lunch: Green salad with tomatoes with poached salmon and olive oil dressing.
- Dinner: Vegetable stir-fry with tofu or baked sweet potatoes served with white fish.
For those with asthma, exercise can cause quite a challenge, especially for those with exercise-induced asthma. But exercise, offers everyone, including those that have asthma, enormous health benefits and should be a regular part of healthy lifestyle. As long as exercise is done carefully and progresses over time, all asthmatics can enjoy the physical and mental benefits that come from regular physical activity.
For those with asthma, short and intermittent period of exercise are not tolerated as well as exercise that involves prolonged activity. In this manner, long distance running, sprinting basketball and other fast-paced workouts, should be avoided or they should be done over time to gradually increase tolerance. On the other hand, walking, jogging and swimming are excellent choices for asthmatics because they are low impact and low intensity and can be done over a prolonged period of time.
Exercising in cold air, exercising outside in environments that are highly polluted or have a high pollen count and working out in very dry or arid air should also be avoided.CONCLUSION
Since asthma is strongly associated with a nutrient-void diet, it is important to follow a healthy diet, one that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, in order to reduce your risk. Certain foods like dairy, preservatives and processed foods should also be avoided as these have been shown to increase risk.
It is important to not rely solely on diet to control asthma, since medication and inhalers are often needed to control symptoms and reduce the frequency and intensity of attacks. If you have asthma, speak with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
Not sure if your symptoms add up to an asthma diagnosis? Try the RealAge asthma assessment.Common Misspellings
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