Asthma is a medical condition targeting the respiratory organs. Patients suffering from it are sensitive to allergens, have weak lungs and general trouble breathing. Asthma fits can significantly agitate the condition, leaving the patient in extreme discomfort for anywhere between an hour to days on end. However, the symptoms can be treated with balanced asthma diet.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease which causes complications for the lungs and airways. It constricts the airways which leaves little room for air to pass through. Mucus clogs them, which further aggravates the condition. Neglecting proper care can result in drastic deterioration of health. Asthma attacks are brought on by allergens which makes the symptoms worse. Asthma can be controlled with a balanced diet, even if it cannot be treated completely.
Symptoms of Asthma
Asthma symptoms are most noticeable during physical activity, pollen season, exposure to allergens and at night. It is characterized by the following symptoms:
- General breathing difficulties.
- Running short on breath.
- Feeling the chest tighten or be constricted, with each breath further squeezing it.
- Inability to breath properly. The patient wheezes due to constricted airways while inhaling and exhaling.
- Coughing to remove mucus buildup in the respiratory airways.
What Causes Asthma?
The direct cause for asthma has yet to determined. Even so, there are numerous causative agents which can bring about its onset for a patient.
- Allergies are often linked with asthma. Patients having respiratory allergies often develop asthma during later stages of life. Allergies weaken the respiratory system if they are not managed properly.
- Environmental pollution continually exposes the patient to harmful substances which damage the respiratory tract.
- Occupational hazards such as noxious gases, toxic materials and harmful substances can become contributing factors for asthma.
- Obesity strains the respiratory organs and has been identified as a leading cause for asthma.
- Bad health habits such as smoking and substance abuse compromise the respiratory system.
Managing Asthma with Balanced Diet
Asthma is a chronic disease which stays with a patient for life. However, proper diet plan for asthma patients provides much needed relief from the symptoms. Following are 10 ways you can manage and the best food for asthma patients to find relief from asthma symptoms:
1. Consume Fruits and Vegetables
It is vital to consume adequate quantities of fruits and vegetables to incorporate vitamins and minerals in diet. Fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, red cabbage, pecans, red beans and raspberries contain high amounts of antioxidants which counteract free radicals. They supply vitamins and minerals to the body, which are required for normal metabolic processes.
2. Dry Fruits – Friend or Foe?
Keeping dry fruits for asthma such as walnuts, pistachios and dried figs in your diet greatly depends on the condition. They contain high amounts of vitamin E, which has been shown to control wheezing in patients. However, some patients are allergic to nuts and dried fruit, which makes them unsuitable for consumption. In such cases, it is best to avoid them altogether to avoid health complications. Read more about dry fruits such as figs here.
3. Don’t Forget Your Vitamin D
The human body gets most of its vitamin D from sunshine. There are several food sources for getting vitamin D as well. Dairy products such as milk, eggs and meat as well as fatty fish are excellent sources for it. It keeps the immune system active so it can fight off infections which can otherwise aggravate asthma. Moreover, studies have identified low levels of vitamin D in patients who suffer from regular asthma attacks.
4. Avoid Beans in Diet
Beans cause mild gas when ingested. This is caused by a sugar called oligosaccharide, which our digestive enzymes cannot fully break down into simpler sugars. It is digested by the bacteria in our gut, which also results in mild fermentation, where gas is released as a byproduct. This is how beans contribute towards flatulence.
Asthma patients are recommended to contain their dietary intake of beans or avoid them altogether. The gas build pushes the diaphragm upwards, consequentially building pressure on the respiratory organs. This makes it difficult to breathe and can set off asthma attacks. Always consider the best food for asthma and avoid food such as garlic, onions and soft drinks as they also contribute towards flatulence.
5. Restrict Coffee and Tea
Teas, coffees, certain herbs and spices naturally contain salicylates. Some patients have been shown to demonstrate signs of restricted airways, shortness of breath and other breathing issues. It is best to either restrict their consumption or replace such drinks with alternatives.
6. Enjoy Fish to the Fullest
Fish such as tuna, herring and salmon are super food for asthma cure on their own – they are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They also reduce the amount of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. Asthma patients (especially those with allergies) suffer from an autoimmune response when exposed to allergens. This causes the IgE to target healthy cells, thus causing medical complications. Limit steroid usage for only dire circumstances in order to avail the full benefits of fish. Learn more about the benefits of fish here.
7. Overeating – Stomach Pain and Asthma
Overeating causes the stomach to expand beyond its normal limit. This in turn exerts pressure on the diaphragm, which compresses the lungs. The alveolar sacs are unable to expands fully for exchange of gases, resulting in shortness of breath. Overeating can trigger asthma attacks which last much longer than the digestive process itself. It also contributes towards obesity, which itself builds more complications for asthma patients. Always restrict your diet to sate hunger while providing balanced nutrition.
8. Take Care of Allergies
Allergies become secondary triggers for asthma attacks. They also cause further medical complications for patients. Take care of your allergies to ensure the symptoms do not aggravate, which can subsequently trigger more attacks.
9. Do not Rely on Supplements
Supplements contain processed vitamins and minerals, which can lead to dependency. The body becomes dependent on the supplements to source its nutrients. Consequently, it becomes weak towards naturally absorbing vitamins and minerals, reducing its ability to process natural diet. It is recommended to stick with a natural, balanced diet which fulfills the RDI.
10. Quit Smoking
Smoking is the leading cause for respiratory problems. Tobacco contains harmful carcinogenic and addictive substances, which can cause cancer. Quitting smoking is the right option for both healthy people and patients suffering from the disease.