Asthma Diet Plan

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the respiratory airway in which the patient suffers from shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing etc. The reason why some people gets affected by this disease while others do not is not yet properly understood and many researches are still going in this topic. But the main cause of asthma is believed either due to genetic factors or due to environmental factors. The genetic reason is mainly due to the transfer of genes which codes for asthma from asthmatic parents to their offspring. The environmental factors includes varies types of asthma triggering factor some of which are dust, smoke, cold and wet climatic condition, fur and feathers of pet animals, certain type of drugs, irritating odours, certain types of food substances etc. When the patient gets exposed to these triggers the onset of asthma symptoms occurs. In each patient, the asthma attack is induced by specific set of triggering factors which might be different from other.

The diet of an asthma patient is very important as some type of food substances may induce the asthma attack. It should be noted that there is no specific diet which can eliminate the asthma attack completely. But avoiding certain food stuffs and eating certain other may greatly help in preventing the food induced asthma attack to certain level. The diet should always be simple and less spicy. Heavy meals should be avoided especially during night time. And the asthma patients should also take special care not to put on the weight since obesity act as an important triggering factor. Similarly sour foods like pickles should be avoided as they enhance cough. Likewise some food allergen induces certain allergic reaction which indirectly acts in triggering asthma attack.

 Foods to be avoided

Even though the diet differs between different age groups of the patient there are some common foods which trigger asthma attack in most people. They are

  1. Milk and other dairy products
  2. Egg
  3. Rice
  4. Gluten containing foods
  5. Alcoholic beverages
  6. Strong tea
  7. Fried foods
  8. Sulphites which are used as preservative in beer, wine, bottled lime juice etc.
  9. Shell fish
  10. Nuts
  11. Soy
  12. High salt diet
  13. Cold foods
  14. Saturated fatty acids
  15. Acid forming foods
  16. Food which contains yeast like bread and blue cheese
  17. Food colours (E102, E104 etc.)

The food stuffs especially those which induce the production and secretion of mucous such as dairy products, chocolates, cakes etc. should be avoided since the mucous gets accumulated in the constricted airway making the condition more worse. Similarly the food item which contains high level of saturated fatty acids such as red meat (beef, pork, mutton etc.) and butter should also be avoided. Diet rich in gluten was found to induce asthma attack. Gluten is basically a complex protein which is very difficult to digest. It mainly occurs in cereals like wheat, barley, rye and triticale. Thus the food stuffs made with such cereals like cake, cookies, pizza, pasta etc. will also be rich in gluten.

Foods to be included in the diet

Certain food items when consumed help in relieving the symptoms by reducing the inflammation. When such foods are consumed the nutrients present in it goes straight to the lungs and thus helps in the fast relief of inflammation in some people.

  1. Fruits and vegetables should be eaten in plenty since it is rich in antioxidants and also contains nutrients that enhance the immune system
  2. Food items rich in vitamin C and Vitamin E contain large amount of antioxidants in it. These antioxidants play a great role in relieving asthma symptoms. Antioxidants act by neutralising the free radicals. Food items like orange, lemon, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kiwi, grapes, pine apple etc. are example for food rich in vitamin c. Example for food items with vitamin E are soy meal, sun flower seed, almond, turnip, mustard, kale, whole grain etc. Even though the cooking oil is rich in vitamin E it should not be consumed too much as it has got many other unhealthy effects too.
  3. Vegetables especially the green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce etc., contain plenty of bioflavonoid which helps in neutralising the action of antioxidants.
  4. Fish which is rich in omega three fatty acids should be consumed in large amount as it can reduce the airway inflammation. Example for such fishes is mackerel and salmon.
  5. Food which contains sulphur compounds in it like raw onion and scallions are also found to reduce the airway inflammation.
  6. Coffee due to the caffeine present in it helps in reducing the severity of asthma attack.

Food items used for asthma treatment

  1. Honey: Honey plays an important role in relieving asthma symptoms. Honey can be consumed as such or mixed with hot water. When an asthma patient is made to inhale above a jar containing honey, the asthma symptoms especially the breathlessness gets relieved to a greater extend.
  2. Figs: Figs helps in relieving the asthma symptoms by draining of the phlegm thus giving comfort to the patient. Figs should be consumed after soaking in water overnight. Three to four figs a day gives good result.
  3. Lemon: Lemon was also found to show great result in asthma treatment. Lemon either consumed with honey and hot water
  4. Ginger: Ginger when consumed along with fenugreek and honey acts as good expectorant. This should be consumed both morning and evening.
  5. Garlic: Garlic gives good result when taken after boiling in milk. This is effective especially in the early stages of asthma.
  6. Drum stick leaves: The soup prepared with drumstick leaves gives good result in asthma treatment.

Thus the asthma patient should be very much bothered about his diet. He should limit the intake of acid forming foods like carbohydrate, protein, fat etc and should take alkali forming foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition to this the food which promotes mucous production should also be avoided. Also the patient should try to avoid heavy meals which will take more time for digestion and instead should go for lightener meals taken frequently.