Asthma is a common but complicated disease that affects millions of children and young adults every year in North America. There are many causes of asthma including pollution, acute allergies, environmental allergens, exertion, noxious chemicals, food allergies, and stress.
Asthma is an inflammatory condition where the air passages leading to the lungs constrict and large amounts of mucous can be produced. This decreases air flow in and out of the lungs making breathing very difficult. As previously stated, asthmatics have some very important triggers which can lead to an attack. One of the more important factors attributed to the development of asthma that can be controlled are the foods you choose to eat.
4 Foods to Avoid When Suffering From Asthma
1. Food Allergens
We have all heard of someone eating peanuts or shellfish and having an acute asthma attack. There are food allergies which can have a delayed response in the production of asthma symptoms.
The most common of which are milk, wheat, citrus, and various food additives like colorings and sweeteners. If you have asthma, try eliminating some of these foods from your diet and keep a record of which foods make your asthma worse.
2. Saturated Fat
The consumption of saturated fat can actually increase the amount of inflammation produced within your body. Saturated fat from red meats, butter, cream, lard, and full-fat cheese contain higher amounts of a fat called arachidonic acid.
This chemical is an important contributor to the inflammatory response. Researchers have found that some vegan diets can reduce asthma symptoms, and it’s thought to be because of the arachidonic acid found in saturated fat.
3. Trans Fat
The consumption of foods containing hydrogenated vegetable oils, such as fried foods, fast foods, foods containing margarine, or vegetable shortening can have higher amounts of trans fat.
This type of fat can actually promote the inflammatory response in the lungs and produce worsening of asthmatic symptoms. Total avoidance of trans fat from the diet is recommended in order to control asthma.
4. Simple and Refined Carbohydrates
The consumption of simple sugars and refined carbohydrates manufactured from refined grains like wheat or rice rapidly increase blood sugar and insulin levels. The high amounts of insulin and body fat storage associated with this type of diet causes the continual secretion of chemicals which encourage the inflammatory response.
Foods containing simple sugars like candy, soda, desserts, snack foods, cereals, and fruits drinks should be consumed very carefully. White flower products, pasta and rice should also be eaten in very modest quantities to control the symptoms of asthma.
Murray, M., et al., Encylclopedia of Naturopathic Medicine (Prima Publishing, 1998): 260-272.
Malhotra, S., et al., “COX inhibitors for airway inflammation,” Expert Opin Ther Targets. February 2012; 16(2): 195-207.
Wood, L.G., et al., “A high-fat challenge increases airway inflammation and impairs bronchodilator recovery in asthma,” J Allergy Clin Immunol. May 2011; 127(5): 1133-40.
Ellwood, P., et al., “Do fast foods cause asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema? Global findings from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) phase three,” Thorax. April 2013; 68(4): 351-60.