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Eating and Asthma

Lately, there seems to be a diet for every health condition. Despite asthma being diagnosed in more and more people lately, there is not a special asthma diet. Research has been conducted to assess if there is a connection between the foods people eat and asthma cases. Results have been mixed. One study that looked at Americans’ risk for developing asthma in those that ate few fruits and more processed foods was inconclusive. However, another similar study showed that those whose diets were rich in Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, flavonoids, magnesium, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids have lower rates of asthma. A third study on teens revealed that those who ate a diet low in fruits and foods containing Vitamin C and E, and omega-3 fatty acids were more likely to have diminished lung function.

Despite the mixed reviews of these few studies, here is some solid nutrition advice you can offer to your patients/clients that suffer from asthma.

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables—Aim to eat fruits and vegetables from every color of the rainbow. Here are some examples. Red: tomatoes, red pepper, strawberries and watermelon. Green: broccoli, kale, collards, kiwi and honeydew. Yellow/orange: yellow pepper, sweet potato, yellow squash, apricot and mango. Blue/purple: blueberries and eggplant. White: potato and pear.

Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids— Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in both fish and plant sources. Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines and tuna. Plant sources include flaxseeds and chia seeds. Be sure to grind the flaxseeds to allow the body to absorb and utilize the omega-3 fatty acids. Both can be added to smoothies, yogurts and/or hot cereals as part of a healthy diet.

Avoid foods high in trans fats and omega-6 fatty acids— Some evidence has been found that link trans fats and omega-6 fatty acids, both of which are found more in processed foods, to worsening asthma symptoms.

In addition to these healthy nutrition tips, encourage your patients to maintain a healthy weight. It has been shown that people who are overweight have an increased risk of developing asthma. Also, encourage your clients to avoid overeating at meals. Those that suffer from asthma and eat excessive portion sizes frequently run the risk of feeling more short of breath and can exacerbate their asthma.

Though there is no miracle diet to cure asthma, rest assured that these suggestions can get your asthma-sufferers on a healthier track and will help to manage their symptoms.

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