Asthma is a condition that affects around 20 million Americans and it can have a huge impact on their lives. Asthma makes it incredibly difficult to function normally and is actually responsible for a quarter of the visits to the emergency room in the United States every year.
Foods can play a crucial role so simply paying close attention to what you eat can reduce your symptoms. That is because asthma involves the airways being chronically inflamed and experts at Indiana University found that certain foods increase this inflammation. So you can select the specific foods that can help fight your asthma.
Foods that Help Asthma
Everyone’s body produces free radicals but if you have asthma, your body is producing more. These free radicals can produce more mucous, making your airway and lungs narrow. The real problem is that in addition to producing more free radicals, asthmatics tend to have fewer antioxidants which are responsible for fighting them.
Because of this, some experts have started looking for a link between increasing the intake of antioxidants and reducing the effects of asthma. One study found that having a large dose of beta-carotene can mean you will have less of forced expiratory volume, which is a way to measure lung function (and a good thing). Because of that, experts recommend having at least three to six milligrams of beta-carotene each day. Another study showed that taking lycopene, another antioxidant, can lessen the severity of lycopene.
If you want to increase your intake of antioxidants, you can either take a supplement or go right to the source by eating spinach, carrots, lettuce, papaya, watermelon, tomatoes and different kinds of berries.
2. Vitamin C
Yale University recently found that people who consumed a high dose of vitamin C had less shortness of breath and wheezing after exercising. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, works by accelerating the body’s histamine metabolism which is crucial as these chemicals can cause the airways and lungs to swell.
The best way to make sure you get enough vitamin C to fight your asthma is to eat plenty of bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, strawberries and oranges.
3. Fish Oil
Fish oil is another great way to help your asthma. A study done at the University of Indiana found that people who had a supplement of omega-3 fatty acids would experience increased lung functioning fifteen minutes after they finished exercising. The researchers think that is because omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease your body’s inflammation, which is one of the main contributors to asthma.
Fish oil is one of the most accessible sources of omega-3 fatty acids, available either in pills or from salmon, mackerel and tuna. You can also get omega-3s by eating flax seed and chia seed.
Surprisingly, another way to help counter the problems associated with asthma after exercising is to have caffeine right before. One study at Tel-Aviv University found that when a person who is about 150 pounds has around three cups of strong coffee before exercising, he will find it easier to breathe afterwards. They think that this is because caffeine is a natural relaxant, meaning that it can help dilate your airways. This in turn fights the tendency of an asthmatic’s body to constrict and spasm after exercising, making it much easier to breathe without wheezing.
If you don’t like coffee (or don’t want to drink it before working out), you can also try drinking tea or having dark chocolate, both of which are sources of caffeine as well.
Flavonoids are a substance that strengthens the walls of your capillaries. By doing this, they help your body fight the inflammatory effects of asthma, making it easier to breathe. In addition to strengthening the walls of your capillaries, flavonoids can even protect both your bronchial tubes and lung linings from any damage caused by pollution, another important consideration for those affected by asthmatics.
Luckily, there are plenty of delicious foods that provide a great source of flavonoids. Onions, prickly pears, blueberries and apples are also excellent sources of this substance.
In addition to containing flavonoids, apples also have plenty of other phytochemicals and vitamins that can help your lung capacity, which of course will improve your asthma. One study found that people who consumed five apples or more each week had lungs that functioned better than those who didn’t eat it as often. When eating an apple, always eat the peel as well as this contains many of the flavonoids such as procyanidins, epicatechin, catechin and quercetin.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria which can help reduce inflammation. Because part of asthma is related to inflammation, this can have a positive effect and help your asthma. Although they aren’t sure why, probiotics can also help your body reduce its allergic reactions. Some asthma sufferers will experience attacks that are triggered by allergies, so this can be incredibly useful for them as well.
The easiest way to increase your intake of probiotics is to have a bit of yogurt as this delicious dairy product contains them.