Over the past three decades the number of people with asthma has increased significantly in the United States and diet may be to blame. Studies show a correlation between poor diet and asthma. People are eating more processed, unnatural foods and fewer things that are good for them. People who eat healthy nutritious foods develop asthma less often than people who eat poorly. Although few doctors acknowledge the link between asthma and diet it does exist. Certain foods and nutrients appear to be effective in the prevention and treatment for asthma. There are also asthma guidelines for foods people should avoid.
Management of asthma symptoms
Diet modifications are a reasonable option for people wondering how to treat asthma naturally. Research shows that people who large amounts of antioxidants and other nutrients including flavonoids, omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and magnesium have lower rates of asthma. Antioxidants are likely a large factor in the reduced asthma rates because they neutralize harmful free radicals and thus protect cells from damage.
Studies show that children and teenagers who eat diets high in fruits and omega-3 fatty acids generally have strong lungs and few asthma-like symptoms. Conversely, people who get low amounts of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E and omega-3s have high rates of poor lung function. The Mediterranean diet shows promise for the prevention and management of asthma. The Mediterranean diet promotes fruits, vegetables and nuts. These foods are high in antioxidants and vitamins.
Asthma guidelines for eating
Diet and asthma may seem like a strange correlation. Asthma has to do with constriction of the bronchial tubes that pass through the lungs, not the digestive system. Inflammation of the airways and mucus production contribute to asthma, which is why anti-inflammatory medications are a large part of conventional asthma treatment. However, foods can decrease inflammation too. Turmeric and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties.
Avoiding certain foods also plays a role in the treatment for asthma. Dairy products can increase mucus production. Andrew Weil, PhD recommends that people with asthma eliminate milk products, animal protein and fried foods from their diets. He also says to stay away from polyunsaturated vegetable oils and partially hydrogenated oils.
More asthma guidelines for diet include increasing omega-3 intake, relying on extra-virgin olive oil as a main source of fat and consuming organic fruits and vegetables daily. Apples, carrots, leafy vegetables and tomatoes have all demonstrated beneficial effects for preventing asthma in studies.
Drinking a lot of water to keep respiratory tract secretions more fluid is important too. The Mayo Clinic suggests that women in general have at least 9 cups of water daily and that men drink 13 cups.
How to treat asthma with herbs and tinctures
Butterbur root extract decreased the severity, frequency and duration of asthma attacks in a study involving 80 patients. The study took place over the course of four months and by the end, more than 40 percent of participants who were taking asthma medication were able to decrease usage.
A tincture of three parts lobelia to one part cayenne pepper mixed in water and taken at the first signs of impending asthma attacks can help stop attacks before they start.
Management of asthma and allergies
Food allergies can contribute to asthma. Discovering food triggers and then avoiding them can therefore help with the management of asthma. Sugar, soy, corn and gluten are common foods that cause allergies. Abstaining from eating these foods for eight weeks to see if symptoms improve can indicate a problem.