It probably comes as no surprise that keeping a healthy mind and body starts with a balanced diet. Making positive dietary choices can improve your overall energy level, strengthen your immune system, and even promote healthy lung function.
While there's no hard and fast rule for how asthma sufferers should eat, there are still a handful of easy-to-follow tips that can immediately improve your quality of life.
Vitamin E is a special antioxidant that can improve symptoms of asthma such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Likewise, vitamin C has potent antioxidant properties that can help to soothe and open airways. Research has shown that vitamin C also plays an important role in controlling the release of histamine, a natural chemical created by your body that can worsen asthma symptoms. When both vitamin E and C are taken together, they are much more effective.
Vitamin B6 is another vitamin that plays an important role in mitigating the effects of asthma. This vitamin alone can reduce the odds of an asthma attack occurring, and also lessen their intensity of them in general. Vitamin B6 is found in many types of food, but bananas are a good starting point if you aren't sure which ones to choose.
As you might already know, preservatives and additives don't add any real value to a dietary plan, and can actually make asthma symptoms significantly worse. The most reliable way to avoid ingredients that are artificial in nature is to always opt for organic, unprocessed foods. Sulfites in particular should be avoided at all costs, and it's a good idea to get into the habit of reading nutrition labels. If you see a lot of ingredients you don't recognize or can't pronounce, stay far away!
Fatty acids are a bit trickier to moderate, but you can consume them in such a way that they do not worsen your asthma symptoms. Omega-6 fatty acids are a vital necessity for the body to function properly, but too much of them can negatively impact those suffering from asthma. A high concentration of omega-6 fatty acids can promote inflammation, leading to worsened symptoms.
Omega-3 fatty acids instead tend to ward off inflammation. This creates an obvious need for balance between these two types of fatty acids. A simple way to moderate them is by steering clear of vegetable oils and opting for more foods containing flaxseeds, soybeans, and walnuts. Fish such as halibut, cod, and salmon are all also excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
The body requires sodium in limited amounts in order to function correctly, but it's estimated that the average person consumes significantly more than what's needed on a daily basis. Asthma symptoms have been shown to be worsened by salt, and the condition itself seems to be more prevalent in areas where salt consumption is high. Salt also depletes potassium levels, which is a mineral that directly improves lung health. Try replacing salt in your meals with various herbs and spices to easily reduce sodium intake.
It's important to keep in mind that making good dietary choices won't outright cure asthma. However, a balanced diet and positive choices can lead to symptoms that are more controlled in intensity, fewer attacks, and better overall health.