Controlling Asthma through Lifestyle
There is no way to magically cure your asthma, but eating a smart and healthy diet and keeping a healthy lifestyle can make a huge difference in controlling asthma.
The number of people with asthma has risen in the past 3 decades, and many wonder if it’s because of our changing diet without enough fruits and veggies.
Several studies have explored this connection. One found that teens with poor nutrition were more likely to have asthma.
And while nutrition is likely not the cause of asthma, it can be the cause of obesity. Being overweight makes you more likely to have severe asthma symptoms, take more meds, and miss more work.
Changes for Controlling Asthma
Eat lots of fruits and veggies.
Packed with antioxidants like beta carotene and vitamins C and E, fruits and veggies help with lung problems. Try controlling your asthma by adding more of these to your diet:
- Apples, which have been tied to lower rates of asthma, possibly because of something in them called flavonoids that have been shown to open airways.
- Cantaloupe, which is high in Vitamin C.
- Carrots, which have a lot of beta carotene, can help reduce attacks caused by exercise.
- Coffee, the caffeine in it can help open airways slightly for a few hours after drinking it.
- Flax seeds, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium which can relax your muscles, which can help open airways.
- Garlic, which has long been used as a treatment for many things because it’s thought to be anti-inflammatory.
- Avocados, which is a healthy antioxidant called glutathione.
Add more vitamin D.
Studies find that people with severe asthma have low levels of vitamin D. Work on controlling your asthma by adding more foods with plenty of vitamin D to your meals, like milk, eggs, and salmon.
Avoid trans fats.
Trans fats, found in many processed foods like margarine, can make your asthma worse and have been linked to other serious health conditions, like heart disease.
Look for sulfites.
Sulfites are a preservative that keeps foods like wine, dried fruits, pickles, and fresh and frozen shrimp good for longer. They give off sulfur dioxide which can irritate your lungs, and research has tied it to asthma flare-ups in some people.
This doesn’t mean you have to cut these from your diet. Just watch for a reaction for about an hour after you eat them.
Stay away from allergy-triggering foods.
Asthma puts you at a bigger risk for food allergies, and you can develop them late in life.
After you eat common allergy-triggering foods like nuts, soy, eggs, and dairy, keep an eye out for common allergy reactions:
- Burning, teary, itchy, red, or swollen eyes
- Coughing, wheezing, or a tight chest
- Hives or skin rashes
- Itchy nose, throat, or mouth
- Runny nose
Avoid foods that trigger Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD).
Up to 70% of people who have asthma, also have GERD, which is stomach acid reflux. GERD can make asthma symptoms worse.
While it can cause normal heartburn symptoms, it doesn’t always. You may need to take medicine or lose weight to manage GERD. But sometimes just eating smaller meals, cutting back on alcohol and caffeine, and avoiding eating before bed can help. You can also avoid foods that you know cause these problems for you.
While losing weight isn’t easy, it can help your asthma. Eat a healthy and balanced diet and stay active. Make sure you talk to your doctor about how best to manage your asthma or use your meds so that you can exercise without causing attacks.