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Food as medicine


Food as medicine

Can some food choices help with the management of your asthma?

Asthma is a disease of inflammation.  It causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs known as bronchial tubes. During an asthma attack, the bronchial tubes swell and the muscles around them tighten, thus making it hard for air to move through the lungs. The result is asthma symptoms such as:

  •     coughing
  •     wheezing
  •     chest tightness
  •     shortness of breath

When it comes to diet and the management of your asthma, a diet high in sugar, fat and processed food can increase asthma attacks, according to researchers at a University of Newcastle.  The study shows that people who tend to consume foods high in saturated fats are more likely to have asthma attacks.  The study showed that these fats also reduce the effect of medicines used to treat the disease.

Nutritional biochemist at the university, Lisa Wood, says on that nutritious foods can help have the opposite effect and can ease asthma. She explains that previous research shows that eating even a single high-fat meal can cause inflammation in the airways of asthmatics.

Dr Wood says that too much fat in the diet causes the body to react as it would to invading bacteria.  She goes on to say that habitually eating that way causes a chronic problem.

"If you eat a high-fat diet your immune cells will attach to the fatty acids that are in your bloodstream and treat that fat in the same way as they would treat bacteria," Lisa says.
The researchers advise that, although more research is needed, a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods such as fruit, vegetables, oats and lentils can reduce the risk of asthma attacks and improve your overall health as well as our asthma symptoms.

“Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your meal planning is just one tool in your asthma management toolbox (along with the right medications, trigger reduction, etc.) that can lead to good asthma control”.  Lorene Alba, AE-C

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