Sufferers of asthma – you can reduce the frequency and severity of your attacks!
How – they ask?
As we all know, our diet plays an important role in all the major health problems we face, the following information is a guideline for the asthmatics out there. While it might work for most of you there will be others that do not get the same results.
By changing your diet you can help reduce the hyperactivity of your immune cells, thus making them less responsive to allergens and air pollution. By increasing your intake of certain nutrients you can neutralize the production of free radicals and this could reduce the attacks and improve your lung function.
A diet high in vegetable oil, salt and hardly any fruit and vegetables will increase the asthma severity and frequency, whereas a diet high in vegetables, fruit and fish will lower these asthmatic problems.
What you need to eat
1) Fresh fruits – these are high in vitamin C and E, contain beta-carotene [beneficial to your lungs] and many other nutrients. Fruit also contains antioxidants and these help protect our lungs [and bodies] against pollution. Try to eat as many fruits during the winter months [we all tend to forget fruit in this cold period] as you would in the summer months, this will prevent a decline in the lung function during winter and make you less susceptible to lung infections. Do not forget to eat the skin of the red apple, the skin contains a powerful antioxidant called Quercetin which is a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory, these will help lower the severity of a asthma attack.
2) Green vegetables – yes I know, not everybody likes to eat these [myself included] but do try as these contain bio-flavonoids which help in the reduction of free-radicals [which can harm healthy tissue]. Do not forget to increase your red onion and garlic intake as these contain a powerful antioxidant called Quercetin which is a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory, these are very beneficial in lowering the severity of a asthma attack.
3) Fresh fish – rich in omega 3 fatty acids [helpful in reducing lung inflammation] and a good source of protein, try to include at least 2 or 3 servings of some baked fish every week as this will help restore a good balance of the essential fatty acids in your system.
4) Extra-virgin olive oil – is very tasty and high in monounsaturated fats which have excellent health benefits. By replacing the other fats you normally use with olive oil, you will find an improvement/reduction in your asthma attacks. Try using olive oil over your salads instead of refined salad dressings.
5) Reduce your salt intake – using to much salt has been shown to increase the incidence of asthma, so instead try using natural spices like sage, coriander, ginger and turmeric. Not only will these increase the flavor of your meal but they also contain antioxidant abilities which help neutralize free radicals.
6) Try eliminate the following –
* dairy products [including milk] as these tend to increase the severity of asthma symptoms and attacks
* mucus forming foods, these aggravate respiratory conditions by increasing the mucus in your airways thus blocking and aggravating the respiratory tract. These include chocolate, bread, sugar, cakes and refined flour to name but a few.
Helpful tips in regards to asthma
1) Increase your intake of the following vitamins
* Vit A – lack of this vitamin can result in susceptibility and/or increased bronchial problems [especially in infants]. A good source of this vitamin can be found in foods such as carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, apricots and spinach.
* Vit C – very beneficial for the active asthmatic who experiences hyperactive airways during and after exercise. This vitamin is found in many vegetables and fruits – spinach, parsley, oranges,etc.
* Vit E – lowers the risk of asthma if consumed in large quantities, also improves the lung function quite noticeably. Can be found in sunflower seeds, mustard and turnips to name but a few.
* Lycopene – benefits the active asthmatic just like the Vit C does and can be found in guava, tomato, watermelon and red peppers.
REMEMBER – smoking is a big NO! Especially for the asthmatics, and keeping children in a smoke free environment will help prevent lung complications later on in life.