No diet will cure asthma, but eating a well-balanced diet may help manage symptoms. Being overweight can make asthma symptoms worse, and a nutritious diet can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
Always consult your doctor before making significant changes to your diet. If you believe that food allergies trigger your asthma, be sure to get tested before making any dietary changes.
What does it involve?
A well-balanced diet includes a variety of foods that provide nutrients that may be especially beneficial for people with asthma.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, including vitamin C, which may help prevent cancer and reduce inflammation. Antioxidants have also been linked to good pulmonary health. Foods such as cantaloupe, citrus, tomatoes, mango, pineapple, and berries are especially rich in vitamin C. Fresh produce is also often high in other nutrients, including fiber, and lower in calories.
Protein helps build and maintain muscle mass and also boosts the immune system, helping to fend off viral infections that could worsen asthma symptoms. You may need extra protein if you are fighting an infection. Meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, beans, lentils, and dairy products can supply your body with protein.
Certain foods have been shown to increase your body’s production of carbon dioxide gas, which can make your lungs work harder and increase breathlessness. Carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, and cereal produce the most carbon dioxide. If you eat these types of foods, try to choose whole-grain products. These are complex carbohydrates, which offer more nutrients and break down more slowly in the body than simple carbohydrates such as baked goods, candy, and soft drinks.
Switching from white bread or regular pasta to whole-grain varieties will also add fiber to your diet. Dietary fiber keeps your heart healthy and your bowels working properly. Other high-fiber foods include vegetables, fresh or dried fruits, legumes such as peas and beans, and nuts such as almonds and pistachios.
Many drugs used to treat asthma, such as inhaled corticosteroids, have the potential to reduce bone density, so it’s important to consume foods containing plenty of calcium. Milk, yogurt, and dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and leafy greens are good sources, as are fortified products such as juice. Contrary to popular belief, drinking milk does not cause your body to produce more mucus.
Milk is also a good source of vitamin D, which is essential to help your body absorb calcium. People with asthma tend to have low levels of this nutrient. Soy milk and many alternative milk products are also fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
Drinking plenty of fluids can help keep your lungs clear and fight dryness and irritation. Milk is a good source of fluid and nutrients.
Eating more nutritious foods and avoiding any foods that might trigger symptoms may help improve overall health and reduce asthma symptoms.
Researchers have reported that when people with mild or moderate asthma boost their vitamin D levels, they may be less likely to have asthma attacks.
Some healthy food choices, such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, avocados, melons, and onions, can produce gas and make you uncomfortable.
Depending on where you live, it may be harder to get to a grocery store with a good selection of produce and other healthy foods.
For more information, visit:
Asthma Diet: Does What You Eat Make a Difference? — Mayo Clinic
Asthma and Nutrition: How Food Affects Your Lungs — American Lung Association
We never share your personal information with anyone.