Managing your asthma isn’t just about getting the right medication. It takes a whole-lifestyle approach because almost every aspect of your life can greatly influence your symptoms. For example, making healthy choices about what you eat can make life easier for your lungs, which in turn can make managing your asthma symptoms and treatment plan easier. Sink your teeth into these tasty foods for asthma sufferers, and find out how they may help minimize your asthma symptoms: 1. Coffee. Have a cup of java, but go for the caffeinated variety, if it doesn’t pose problems for you. Studies suggest that caffeine can help open bronchial tubes for up to 4 hours, which is good because they become constricted when you have asthma. Not a coffee drinker? 2. Oranges. A preliminary study found that children with asthma wheezed less when they ate vitamin C-rich fruits, such as oranges. Not only does vitamin C (ascorbic acid) have anti-inflammatory properties, it also may boost your overall health. 3. Nuts. The vitamin E in nuts may help open your airways and reduce inflammation. Some preliminary research has found that vitamin E has antioxidant properties, which help combat cell-damaging molecules known as free radicals. 4. Carrots. This crunchy favorite, as well as other red, orange, and yellow fruits and veggies, contains beta carotene, which may decrease the asthma symptoms exercise causes. Your body converts beta carotene to vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient. Beta carotene also has antioxidant properties that can help ward off cell damage. 5. Onions. Onions are loaded with tiny crystals known as flavonoids, which help fight inflammation from asthma by strengthening your capillary walls. They also can protect the lining of your lungs and bronchial tubes from damage caused by pollution. In addition to onions, nosh on apples, blueberries, and prickly pears — all of which provide tasty ways to add flavonoids to your asthma diet.
After the long, hard winter, many people look forward to blooming plants, birds chirping, and rising temperatures. However, for someone with asthma and allergies, the pollen that is associated with spring can take a toll on well-being. Seasonal pollen that is associated with the spring months can result in airway inflammation and worsening asthma. Pollen blows as far as 50 miles, so you don’t have to be right next to a flower garden to suffer the effects. Find out how to control asthma during the spring months, so you don’t have to worry about sneezing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. -About Asthma Triggers
Asthma is triggered by many different substances, whether it be a chemical, a medication, or an outdoor allergen. The best way to ward off asthma flare-ups (exacerbations) is to understand these triggers, and in the future, avoid them. Air fresheners – While having things smell nice is pleasant, air fresheners could bring on an asthma attack. Many of these products use aerosol, and it triggers wheezing and coughing. Look for ones that have the green paint logos, as these have low to zero volatile organic compounds and other chemicals that lead to airway irritation. Avoid certain fruits – Oral allergy syndrome is when the body mistakes certain natural chemicals in fruits for pollens, and this causes flare-ups of asthma. Symptoms could be as simple as a scratchy throat or itchy mouth, or they could be severe. Check with your specialist before ingesting peaches, bananas, or pears, as they could worsen your asthma symptoms. Pass on OTC medicines – Certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and aspirin can lead to asthma attacks. As many as 5 percent of people with asthma have what is known as “aspirin-sensitive” asthma, which means these OTC products can trigger a serious flare-up.
Asthma, a condition that strikes the small air passages of the lungs in episodes called asthma attacks, affects the lives of many people in this country. Asthma attacks occur when smooth muscle cells clamp down on air passages, closing them off. This makes it much harder to get air in and out of the lungs, leading to wheezing and difficulty breathing. If the attack continues, the patient may pass out or even die from suffocation.
Although asthma patients may be symptom-free between attacks, they must live with the fear that another asthma attack may happen at any time. Fortunately, healthy food choices may help reduce attacks and alleviate symptoms caused by this debilitating condition. A Mediterranean Diet approach to food has been shown to have unique benefits in bringing asthma under control. The great antioxidant support provided by fresh fruits and vegetables is very likely to be a major source of lung and airway support in a Mediterranean Diet, as are the rich array of anti-inflammatory compounds found in signature foods like extra virgin olive oil. Eat more Organically grown fruits and vegetables Cold water fish including cod, salmon, mackerel, herring and halibut Extra virgin olive oil Flax seeds
Rosemary, ginger and turmeric Eliminate milk and other dairy products which have been most commonly cited as increasing the severity of asthmatic symptoms.
If you’re like most people with asthma, you may sometimes experience symptoms — coughing, wheezing and tightness in your chest — during or after exercising. But that’s no excuse not to work out . You just need to be prepared and know your limits.
“If your asthma is under good control, you can and should exercise normally. Exercising [when you have] asthma can help reduce your symptoms, improve your breathing, and reduce your stress and anxiety,” says Rachel Taliercio, DO, a lung and allergy specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.
“Many people with asthma assume that exercise is bad for them. That causes them to get out of shape, and that’s bad for asthma,” says Dr. Taliercio. A review of 19 studies (involving 695 people) on exercises for asthma was published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2013. The review found that exercise for asthma is safe, improves heart and lung fitness, and enhances quality of life. The author’s conclusion is that people with asthma should be encouraged to exercise without worrying that their symptoms will get worse. -Exercising Safely
Having asthma means your lungs are more sensitive to things like cold air, dry air, pollen, and pollution. When you’re not exercising, you probably breathe through your nose. Breathing through your nose moistens, warms, and filters the air you breathe before it gets into your lungs. But while working out, you probably breathe through your mouth. That can be tough on your lungs and can trigger asthma symptoms. -Best Exercises for Asthma -Swimming is one of the best exercises for asthma because it builds up the muscles you use for breathing. It also exposes your lungs to lots of warm, moist air, which is less likely to trigger asthma symptoms. -Yoga is another good exercise for asthma. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that yoga training over 10 weeks significantly improved quality of life scores for women with mild to moderate asthma . “A low intensity, beginner yoga class is a great way to start up your exercise program,” says Taliercio.
Team sports that have some breaks in the action are usually fine, too. These can include:
Exercise induced asthma (EIA) occurs when a person begins to experience asthma symptoms brought on by exercise or while engaging in high energy physical activity such as sports. It is especially likely to occur during colder weather and symptoms may include shortness of breath, a feeling of pressure or tightness in the chest, wheezing, coughing, sore throat, headache, and fatigue. Symptoms can last up to one hour, but have been known to last for several days. Causes
While the exact cause of exercise induced asthma hasn’t yet been pinpointed, the most widely accepted theory suggests that the hard and fast deep breathing brought on by exercise allows the passageways in the lungs to become overly cool and dry. When that happens the muscles of the lungs begin to tighten and become narrower, irritating the lining of the lungs which then leads to inflammation and the formation of mucous. As these things occur the sufferer will begin to feel the familiar asthma like symptoms that make it harder to breathe.
The following are common triggers of EIA attacks in those who are susceptible: -Participating in sports activities during cold weather when the air is dryer. Reports of EIA attacks rise in winter. -Exercise – This includes any form of gym or sport activity which increases the rate of breaths taken per minute over an extended period of time. EIA attacks may also be triggered by not properly preparing for gym routines or sporting activities like football. -Exposure to irritants – Exercising or playing sports in close proximity to things that may aggravate the lungs can cause an EIA episode. These irritants may include pet dander, dust, pollen, tobacco smoke, and chemicals like chlorine.
No matter what type of asthma you have, an important step in managing your asthma is to find out if your asthma is under control. Uncontrolled asthma symptoms can have a bigger impact than you may realize. And if you have had a recent asthma attack, this may mean you are more likely to have another one.
Your asthma may not be under control if one or more of the following are true for you. Do you:
-Have symptoms more than 2 days a week?
-Limit or avoid daily activities?
-Wake up at night because of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath?
-Use your rescue inhaler more than 2 times a week?
-Have peak flow or FEV1 readings below your personal best?
-Need emergency medical care due to asthma symptoms more than once a year?
If you think you may have uncontrolled asthma, it’s important to talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
People who have spring allergies and asthma often enjoy a short respite during the cold months when symptoms abate and they can breathe easy, or easier, at least. As the weather begins to warm and trees begin to bloom and sprout leaves, though, things change. Before you know it, you’re sneezing, wheezing and coughing once again. Spring allergies have just begun.
Some allergies and asthma produce problems year round, because they are triggered by substances found in the everyday living environment. You may find that your symptoms get worse every spring. Some people, though, are lucky enough to have more seasonal allergies and asthma. Spring allergies are sometimes called “hayfever,” although they aren’t caused by hay and don’t result in a fever. They are, however, usually the outdoor type of allergies, meaning that the triggers are commonly found outdoors, rather than indoors. Common symptoms of spring allergies can include: -Sneezing
Some people worry that anxiety causes asthma. There is currently no evidence that anxiety can create asthma in those that did not originally have the condition. But there is a great deal of evidence that anxiety can worsen asthma symptoms.
It’s not clear why anxiety produces an increase in asthma symptoms, but the issue is fairly documented. The most likely reasons include: Hyperventilation – Anxiety changes breathing habits. Many studies have shown that hyperventilation, whether it’s caused by a disorder (like anxiety) or no disorder at all, appears to increase the likelihood of an asthma attack. So those with anxiety that may be more prone to hyperventilating may be unintentionally forcing their own attack symptoms. Inflammation – Stress can lead to inflammation. Asthma is the inflammation of airways. It’s unlikely that stress causes the inflammation that leads to asthma, but it’s possible that stress makes it harder to control inflammation when your asthma symptoms are acting up. General Physiological Changes – On a physical level, stress does cause some issues that may contribute to asthma. For example, anxiety can release an excess of histamine (the chemical that causes allergies) that can lead to asthma attacks. Stress may also weaken your immune system in such a way that you become more vulnerable to viruses and external asthma triggers. Muscle Constriction – Muscle constriction is also very common with anxiety. Muscle constriction can lead to tighter chest and other issues that may trigger asthma. It doesn’t appear that asthma can be caused by anxiety, but there are strong indications that anxiety can make it much worse, especially if you are living with persistent anxiety or stress.
Can garlic help prevent asthma attacks? Evidence suggests that compounds naturally present in garlic can indeed help treat asthma as well as reduce and cure symptoms associated with other respiratory ailments. One nutrient that plays a key role in the ability of garlic to fight asthma is vitamin C. Ounce for ounce, fresh garlic provides more than twice as much vitamin C as tomatoes. Vitamin C helps neutralize free radicals, unstable molecules that cause contraction of airway smooth muscles in asthma sufferers.
Furthermore, research suggests that vitamin C rich foods, such as raw garlic, can promote histamine breakdown and reduce histamine release in the body. Histamine, a natural chemical generated by the body, is involved in many allergic reactions and is known to promote inflammation in asthma sufferers.
In addition to its effects on histamine release and breakdown, garlic can boost the ability of the body to create prostacyclins. Prostacyclins are lipid molecules that help keep the air passages of the lungs open and thus promote easy breathing in asthmatic individuals.
The latest research suggests that eating a balanced diet high in nutrients is a crucial step to manage asthma and keep your immune system working at its best.
While it’s important to follow your asthma action plan and take your medications as directed, if you get the okay from your doctor first, you can also try adding some key foods and supplements into your diet in order to help keep your asthma in check. The five simple steps below can bring about some important benefits and may even lessen your reliance on conventional medicines: -Load up on fruits and vegetables.
-Use fish oil supplements for lung health.
-Eat an apple to keep your asthma at bay.
-Go heavy on milk, eggs, and fish to get more vitamin D. -Add more spice to your life. The vitamin C contained in hot chili peppers can be good for your health and asthma, too, since it serves as an antioxidant and also fights inflammation. Eating spicy foods for respiratory health may also help clear mucus caused by allergies.