Asthma Reducing Foods Belle Mead NJ
New Brunswick, NJ
New Brunswick, NJ
By Lisa Turner
Most of us take breathing for granted. But if you’re one of the 20 million Americans who suffer from asthma, the simple act of inhaling and exhaling can be a painful, even life-threatening struggle. Asthma causes dramatic tightening of the bronchial tubes, making breathing difficult or even impossible. It can be triggered by a number of factors, ranging from airborne allergens to exercise and stress or certain foods. And it’s on the rise.
“Asthma has been increasing over the last 15 years at an epidemic rate,” says Marc David, author of The Slow Down Diet (Inner Traditions, 2006). “There are a number of factors that figure in this dramatic rise, and one of the most important is dietary influences, specifically food allergies, food sensitivities, nutrient deficiencies, and poor-quality foods that depress immunity.”
When treating asthma symptoms with dietary changes, “the first step is to rule out food allergies, which are a major contributing factor for more than a third of asthmatic adults,” says Alan R. Gaby, MD, a nutritional medicine specialist and author of The Patient’s Book of Natural Healing (Prima, 1999). Because an elimination diet can cause hypersensitivity and may lead to attacks, it should be done under the supervision of an experienced allergist.
You can, however, eliminate certain foods safely on your own. Processed foods and some vitamins and medications may contain food coloring and additives that can worsen asthma; yellow dye #5 (tartrazine), for example, is well known for provoking attacks. Asthma attacks may also be triggered by a high-salt diet, and some studies have shown that reducing salt intake can enhance pulmonary function. Some people are sensitive to foods that trigger mucous production in the body, especially dairy and wheat. Additionally, excess dietary tryptophan can aggravate respiratory conditions, says David; foods high in tryptophan include turkey, chicken, dairy products, soy, and seafood.
“Avoiding foods that lead to an inflammatory condition in the body can also be helpful,” says Shari Lieberman, PhD, CNS, author of The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book (Avery Penguin Putnam, 2007). These include fried and processed foods, which are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and trans fats; sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can cause the body to increase production of inflammatory compounds; and red meat, which contains pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid.
And certain foods can help lessen the symptoms of asthma by reducing inflammation, relaxing spasms, and acting as natural antihistamines. Ready to breathe easy? Try eating these five foods (check out the recipes starting on page 28) to help relieve your asthma symptoms.
Salmon This oil-rich fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, well known for their ability to reduce the body’s production of inflammatory compounds. “Inflammation is an important component of asthma,” says Gaby. “It makes airways hypersensitive and more suscepti...
Author: Lisa Turner
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