Published: May 5, 2020 9:40:12 pm
World Asthma Day: Apart from environmental factors like inhaled allergens, exposure to smoke or pollution, and also genetic susceptibility, diet plays an important role when it comes to curbing symptoms of asthma, research has shown.
Asthma is characterised by the inflammation of bronchial tubes which can lead to symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, wheezing and coughing. Experts suggest that foods you may be allergic to can also lead to symptoms of an asthma attack.
What foods to avoid if you have asthma
“Depending on the kind of pre-existing allergies an asthma patient may have, the symptoms get triggered. Foods like garlic, cold foods like curd or ice cream or lactose-based products like milk and milk products, fish, junk foods and processed foods can commonly trigger asthma. These foods are harmful particularly for the asthma patient as it may cause some inflammation to the lungs or some infection in the airways, which can cause breathing difficulties,” Dr Namita Nadar, head nutritionist, Fortis Hospital Noida, told indianexpress.com.
According to a 2017 study published in the journal Nutrients, Western diet comprising “high intake of refined grains, processed and red meats, and desserts” have pro-inflammatory effects and may not be ideal for an asthma patient.
People suffering from asthma should avoid foods with preservatives as they contain chemicals and have a high sodium content, which can cause allergy and trigger the symptoms, added Dr Nadar.
Alcohol is a no-no, stressed the nutritionist. Besides inflammation, it may also increase blood pressure levels, and may increase obesity. “Maintaining the Body Mass Index (BMI) is important for an asthma patient. If the patient’s BMI is more than 30-35 Grade 1 or Grade 2 obesity, the excess fat can cause more difficulty in breathing,” she said.
So, what should you eat?
Fresh fruits and vegetables, and freshly cooked, warm foods are recommended. The 2017 study mentioned earlier also suggests that Mediterranean diet with high intake of fruits and vegetables are good for asthma patients because of their anti-inflammatory properties.
“Antioxidant foods like nuts or foods rich in vitamin D, foods rich in magnesium like spinach or pumpkin seeds, and omega 3 fatty acids like flax seeds can help. Along with this, immunity boosting foods like ginger, turmeric, lemon and honey can help overcome asthma. So, you can have a glass of warm ginger water or turmeric water in the morning,” advised Dr Nadar.
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