Asthma sufferers may lessen their need for chemical treatments prescription medications (steroids) and inhalers through lifestyle and dietary changes and nutritional supplements.
-Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke, indoor and outdoor pollution, and common allergens such as dust (see Allergies)
-Avoid food additives and processed foods. The diet should emphasize whole, organic foods as much as possible. Focus on decreasing refined carbohydrates like sugar and heavily processed starches; hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils (which interfere with fatty acid metabolism); artificial food additives, flavorings, and sweeteners; fried foods; and pork.
-Avoid nitrates/nitrites and sulfites. Many asthma patients are sensitive to these substances and should avoid foods containing such additives. This may include deli meats and cheeses, hot dogs, bacon, wine and beer. Individuals who know they are sensitive to sulfites may benefit from supplements of both vitamin B12 and the mineral molybdenum. Both help in the oxidation and metabolism of sulfites and may help decrease an inflammatory reaction to sulfites exposure. In addition, vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to some forms of asthma.
-Include a balance of aerobic exercise, resistance training, and stretching or yoga in your workout routine. Try to avoid exercising in cold, dry air, and always warm up with at least 10 minutes of lower-intensity exercise. Stress management techniques including biofeedback and meditation are recommended.
-Supplement with omega-3s. Fish oil and flaxseed oil, both excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, may help decrease inflammation.
-Get plenty of antioxidants through diet or supplements. They decrease free radical activity, which tends to stimulate inflammation. This includes vitamins A, C, and E, quercetin, bioflavonoids (hesperidin and rutin), N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and bromelain. Bromelain, which comes from the stem of pineapple, is an enzyme that when taken without food, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
-Try taking magnesium, which has a broncho-dilating effect. Magnesium stores have been shown to be low in individuals with asthma.