Nutritional No-No’s to Living with Asthma
People with asthma have to make a lot of modifications in their lifestyle. From diet to exercise to avoidance of stressful situations as well as extremes of weather conditions, asthmatics have to strike a balance between leading a carefree life and minimizing the effects of an asthmatic attack.
While the management of asthma requires a multi-factorial approach that includes promotion of a healthier lifestyle, prevention of complications, treatment of symptoms, and rehabilitation of asthmatics to achieve quality of life appropriate to their asthma state, many experts believe that active avoidance of known asthma triggers is still the best way to managing the entire asthma experience.
Here are some foods that are best avoided when you have asthma.
There’s no special asthma diet. We don’t know of any foods that reduce the airway inflammation of asthma. Beverages that contain caffeine provide a slight amount of bronchodilation for an hour or two, but taking a rescue inhaler is much more effective for the temporary relief of asthma symptoms.
However, a good diet is an important part of your overall asthma treatment plan. Just like regular exercise, a healthy diet is good for everyone. That goes for people with asthma, too. Obesity is associated with more severe asthma, so you want to take steps to maintain a healthy weight.
Studies have shown that sulfites in certain foods such as dried fruits, fresh and frozen shrimps, wines, and pickles can trigger asthma symptoms. Sulfites are known to produce sulfur dioxide which can greatly irritate the airway passages leading to the initiation of the asthma attack. Other foods that contain sulfites include artificial lime or lemon juice, beer, hard cider, packaged potatoes, asparagus, chives, eggs, cornstarch, lettuce, garlic, leeks, maple syrup, tomatoes, and soy products.
As asthma is closely associated with allergic reactions, experts recommend avoidance of food items that are known to induce an allergic reaction. These can include milk, chicken, eggs, shellfish, and peanuts among others. While the actual number of people who may have true food allergies, many health experts believe that it is always better to be on the safe side of things than to rick developing an asthma attack.
Omega-6 and Trans-fat Fatty Acids
Studies have shown that products high in trans-fat and omega 6 fatty acids can greatly increase your susceptibility to asthma. As such, margarines, vegetable oil, and vegetable shortening should be best avoided. If you really require fat in your dishes, extra virgin olive oil can be substituted.
While not directly responsible for the triggering of asthma attacks or symptoms, high calorie diets can lead to obesity which can complicate the symptoms associated with asthma. The abnormal deposition of fat within the chest can adversely affect the expansion of the thoracic cage thereby limiting the process of respiration. As such, people who are asthmatic and overweight are always advised to shed some pounds to help alleviate the symptoms of asthma.
Foods that Increase Gastric Acidity
There are studies that show that people who have asthma also have gastroesophageal reflux disease or heartburn. This correlation leads experts to believe that hyperacidity may play a role in the irritation of the surrounding structures between the esophagus of the digestive system and the trachea and bronchus of the respiratory system. It is thus recommended that people with heartburn and asthma may well benefit if they can avoid foods such as chocolates, coffee, soda, fried foods, alcohol, high fat dairy products, high fat meats, and tomatoes and citrus fruits.
While many of the foods that have been listed here are practically the same foods that you enjoy every day, you may be tempted to try it anyway. If that is the case, you should always be ready with your corticosteroid inhalation spray or, if worse comes to worst, an epinephrine shot might save your life.