Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory lung disease. The air passages within the lungs are constantly swollen, restricting the amount of air allowed to pass through the trachea. Asthmatics have recurrent breathing problems and a tendency to cough and wheeze. Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, breathing difficulty, and/or tightness in the chest. Asthma may be triggered by allergens (mold, pollen, mites, dust); viral illness; cold air; exercise; or emotional stress. Your genes may also play a role.
Some individuals with asthma may react adversely to certain chemicals or additives in foods, including shellfish, nuts, wheat, dairy products, dietary sulfites used to preserve foods, and certain food colorings such as the yellow dye tartrazine.
Asthma attacks may be brought on by allergenic foods. The most common ones are milk, chocolate, wheat, cheese, bananas, peanuts, citrus, and food colorings (tartrazine). If possible, eliminate the use of aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as Ibuprofen. Diet & lifestyle changes can help to alleviate an asthmatic's symptoms. Here are several tips to help you prevent and control your next asthmatic attack.
- Avoid food additives and all processed foods. The diet should emphasize whole, organic foods as much as possible. Focus on decreasing refined carbohydrates like sugar and heavily processed starches; hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils; artificial food additives, flavorings, and sweeteners; fried foods; and pork.
- Avoid nitrates and sulfites. Many asthma patients are sensitive to these substances and should avoid foods containing such additives. This may include deli meats and cheeses, hot dogs, bacon, wine and beer. Individuals who know they are sensitive to sulfites may benefit from supplements of both vitamin B12 and the molybdenum. Both help in the oxidation and metabolism of sulfites and may help decrease an inflammatory reaction to sulfites exposure. In addition, vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to some forms of asthma.
- Take your antioxidants through diet or supplements. They decrease free radical activity, which tends to stimulate inflammation.
Avoid Environmental Triggers — Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke, indoor and outdoor pollution, and common allergens such as dust
- Omega-3 fish oil — a sources of EPA and DHA which help decrease inflammation.
- Antioxidants — this includes vitamins A, C, and E, Quercetin, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and bromelain. Bromelain, which comes from pineapple, is an enzyme that when taken without food, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
- Magnesium — has a bronchodilating effect. Magnesium stores have been shown to be low in individuals with asthma.
- Boswellia — has been proposed as a potential therapy for asthma. Future studies are needed to assess the long-term efficacy and safety of boswellia and to compare the efficacy of boswellia to standard therapies.
- Choline — is possibly effective when taken orally for asthma. Choline supplements seem to decrease the severity of symptoms, number of symptomatic days and the need to use bronchodilators in asthma patients. There is some evidence that higher doses of 3 grams daily might be more effective than lower doses of 1.5 grams daily. Choline is generally regarded as safe and appears to be well-tolerated.
- Pycnogenol - is a water extract of the bark of the French maritime pine (Pinus pinaster spp. atlantica), which is grown in coastal south-west France. Pycnogenol may offer clinical benefit to both children and adults with asthma.
Include a balance of aerobic exercise, stretching or yoga in your workout routine. Try to avoid exercising in cold, dry air, and always warm up with at least 10 minutes of lower-intensity exercise. Stress management techniques including biofeedback and meditation are recommended.