If you don’t have asthma, there’s a good chance you know someone who does with one in 10 people suffering from the chronic condition. Asthma occurs when the airways to the lungs are obstructed and become inflamed leading to shortness in breath, wheezing, coughing and a tight chest. While asthma can be treated using medication, it is also recommended for an asthmatic to lead a nutritious diet to reduce the effects.
What are the causes?
The most common cause of asthma is allergic reactions and sensitivities to a range of triggers such as, pollen, dust, animal hair, as well as inflammatory foods. Ideally, someone who experiences asthma should try to live an allergy-free lifestyle to reduce the chances of an episode. A doctor is also able to identify certain triggers for asthmatics.
Targeted Nutrients for Asthma
- Vitamin D – plays a vital role in regulating a broad range of immune processes and anti-inflammatory reactions. Vitamin D can be taken as a supplement but is best achieved by absorbing the suns rays either early in the morning or afternoon for 10-20 minutes.
- Antioxidants – Vitamin C, E, Selenium. As asthma is an inflammatory condition, antioxidants are important to counteract the effects and act as an anti-inflammatory, which may reduce bronchoconstriction.
- Omega-3’s – often found in fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds and some nuts are naturally anti-inflammatory and should be included in a balanced diet.
- Probiotics – help to protect and strengthen the gut where 70% of the immune system resides. Probiotics work by modulating the immune response and inflammatory processes.
- Magnesium – is an important mineral for the body and may assist with relaxation of bronchial smooth muscles. A rich source of magnesium can be found in spinach, nuts and seeds, avocados and whole grains.
- Curcumin – is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents available and also acts as a strong antioxidant. Curcumin is fat-soluble and is poorly absorbed in the body unless paired with pepper or oil. Curcumin can also be ingested in high doses through supplementation.
Diet and Lifestyle
If you’re an asthma sufferer, there are some key lifestyle changes and requirements to help prevent against asthmatic episodes.
- Establish or maintain an allergen-free environment, which may mean additional cleaning of floors, rugs, carpets, towels and linen.
- Cover pillows and mattresses with plastic or hypo-allergenic covers.
- Use synthetic materials such as, foam mattresses or acrylics instead of animal products like wool goose down or horsehair.
- Minimise dust-collecting household items, i.e. carpets, cushions, rugs and curtains.
- Regularly wash soft toys
- Install an air purifier or a dust filter may also help.
- Reduce pro-inflammatory foods in the diet including saturated fats such as meats, poultry, and dairy, refined foods, and sugar. Patients sensitive to antibiotics should eat only organic meats to avoid antibiotic residues.
- Avoid foods with a high content of mould or leftover food, yeasts, pickled vegetables and vinegar’s.
- Eat a minimally processed diet rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients and bioflavonoids, found predominantly in fruits and vegetables.
- Eliminate any known food allergies or sensitivities.
Despite asthma being labelled as a chronic condition, it is possible to reduce its triggers if a healthy lifestyle is practiced. Creating a safe and allergen free environment will also help to reduce the rate of episodes. Always keep medication on hand as well and be sure to let friends, family and employers aware of the condition.