Asthma is a chronic lung disease; symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing. Caused by inflammation and swelling in the airways of the lungs, severe asthma attacks can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
The incidence of asthma seems to be higher in western countries, which can be rich in refined sugar, fats, and processed foods. Poor diet may, in turn, be linked to widespread deficiencies of certain nutrients, including vitamins. Focusing on fresh vegetables and fruit may help. There is no single superfood or nutrient that helps to improve asthma symptoms. Still, a diet rich in vegetables and fruits may help your symptoms and whole-body health.
As well as taking prescribed medicines and following advice from a healthcare professional carefully, some dietary factors and forms of exercise, movement and breathing may help.
Fat-soluble vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin because most of our vitamin D is derived when the sun reacts with a cholesterol-like substance in the skin. Essential for bone health, vitamin D also affects the part of the immune system that identifies specific disease-causing microorganisms. Some of these microorganisms, such as respiratory viruses, may trigger asthma attacks.
To boost your vitamin D levels, practice safe sun. Dietary sources include dairy, eggs, fatty fish and UV treated mushrooms.
Unlike most mammals, humans can't make water-soluble vitamin C, but all body cells need this water-soluble vitamin. A daily intake is important because the body can't retain large amounts. It's antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce oxidative stress, including placed on tissues in the airways. Vitamin C might reduce an individual's hypersensitivity to asthma triggers while reducing inflammation and hypersensitivity in a similar way that prescribed inhaled steroids work, according to researchers.
Find vitamin C in vegetables and fruits. Enjoy seasonal and raw, when possible, to retain as much vitamin C destroyed by heat and exposure to air.
Several studies link fish and fish oil consumption - omega-3s - with a lower risk of asthma in children and young adults. Other research suggests that taking fish oil during the third trimester of pregnancy might cut children's risk of developing asthma. A study from Copenhagen found that consuming fish oil supplements could reduce childhood asthma rates.
Find omega-3s in fatty fish such as fresh tuna, salmon and sardines. Canned fish contains less omega-3s but is still a healthy option.
Exercise and yoga
Regular physical activity may help to reduce asthma symptoms by improving your lung health. As well as aerobic exercise and weight training to building muscle strength, you may want to add yoga into the mix. The ancient Indian practice of yoga involves held postures and movements performed with breathing techniques. Yoga aids relaxation and enhances fitness. Regular practice may help by improving posture and opening the chest muscles, which encourages better breathing.
Research suggests that yoga may improve quality of life and asthma symptoms to some extent. Always talk to your doctor about your exercise options.