Trending News: Plant based diet may help asthma
You might need to change your diet if you suffer from asthma. A new study pinpoints food that reduces asthma symptoms and other types of food that make asthma much worse.
Asthma affects more than 25 million people in the U.S. and doesn’t have a cure. It’s a disease that can only be managed and treated.
Asthma affects the respiratory system by restricting the airways and making it more difficult for people to breathe. People who suffer from asthma might also experience coughing and shortness of breath.
When it comes to the foods you eat, there has been recent evidence to suggest that a plant-based diet helps to prevent and manage asthma.
Researchers with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine just published their findings this month in Nutrition Reviews.
Foods You Should Eat
The review findings were primarily focused on a particular study that looked closely at the diet of asthma patients for a period of 8 weeks. Participants ate high fiber foods, fruits, and vegetables.
At the end of the study period, the participants’ symptoms were less frequent and less severe. They also became less dependent on their asthma medication.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine looked at a different study that tracked asthma patients over a much longer period.
After a full year of a plant-based diet, asthma patients in the second study had dramatic improvements in the amount of air they could hold and expel from their lungs.
The review was able to find a correlation between the foods you eat and better health for people who suffer from asthma. High fiber foods improved their lung function.
Foods rich in antioxidants and flavonoids had a protective effect on their respiratory systems. Also, fruits and vegetables with potent vitamins and minerals were responsible for reducing inflammation.
Foods You Should Avoid
The flip side of this review looked at foods that made asthma symptoms worse. The researchers looked at a study from 2015 to source their data.
In that study, children who consumed high levels of dairy had a higher risk of developing asthma while children on the opposite side of the dairy spectrum had the lowest risk.
In a separate dairy study, children with asthma cut milk and eggs from their diet for 8 weeks. After the study period concluded, those children saw a 22% increase in their lung function. Children in a different group that continued consuming dairy actually lost a small percentage of lung function.
Although a specific study isn’t cited, the researchers point out in their review that high fat intake, consumption of saturated fats, and low fiber foods were detrimental to asthma patients.
Those foods were said to exacerbate airway inflammation and worsen lung function.
The Asthma and Covid-19 Connection
This review should be of special importance given the fact that people who suffer from asthma are in the high-risk category for the novel coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated that there was a higher risk for getting sick from Covid-19 for people who suffer from severe to moderate asthma.
That’s one of the main reasons that people who suffer from asthma should take all precautions to limit their exposure to the coronavirus. The coronavirus can cause asthma attacks and pneumonia, and even lead to acute respiratory disease.
“Asthma is a condition that affects more than 25 million Americans, and unfortunately it can make people more vulnerable in the COVID-19 outbreak,” says study author Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee. “This research offers hope that dietary changes could be helpful.”
This review lends further credence to the claims of nutritionists and scientists who believe there is a link between the foods we eat and our respiratory function.
“This groundbreaking research shows that filling our plates with plant-based foods–and avoiding dairy products and other high-fat foods–can be a powerful tool for preventing and managing asthma,” says Dr. Kahleova.
Yet, there are a few more precautions that are recommended by the CDC. Here are some guidelines specifically for people with asthma:
Try to stay calm
Getting worked up and stressed out can actually trigger an asthma attack. So, it’s important to stay calm and avoid strong emotions.
Make Sure to Stock up
You should create an emergency supply of inhalers and prescription medications that you’re taking.
The CDC recommends that you also keep 30 days’ worth of non-prescription supplies on hand in case you need to self-isolate.
Disinfect and Clean Surfaces
Phones, remotes, doorknobs and light switches should be regularly disinfected and cleaned. However, you should let someone who doesn’t have asthma handle all the cleaning and disinfecting inside your home.
Open windows for better ventilation and avoid chemicals that can trigger an asthma attack.
Related: Coronavirus and Spring Cleaning
Avoid Large Crowds
Try to keep away from groups of people when out shopping for necessary supplies or taking exercise.
Minimize your exposure to others even if they don’t appear to exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus.
This scientific review echoes what nutrition experts have been saying for decades. The foods that you eat play a key role in preventing and managing asthma. A plant-based diet will ensure that you avoid fatty foods and foods that don’t contain the essential vitamins and minerals the body needs to promote a healthy immune system.
This review comes at a time when asthma sufferers are at a greater risk from exposure to the corona virus.
So, any guidance on managing asthma symptoms or improving asthma in general is great news.