Nutrition Tips to Manage Asthma

I know a lot of people with asthma, from patients to family members. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects over 26 million Americans, including 7.1 million children.  It can really negatively impact a person’s quality of life and keep them from doing the things they want to do. With the prevalence of asthma is on the rise, recent research has focused on the relationship between diet and asthma.  Research has shown that specific foods with anti-inflammatory compounds may be beneficial for asthma symptoms.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that combat inflammation associated with asthma. Two anti-inflammatory compounds shown to attenuate asthma symptoms are quercetin and rosmarinic acid. Quercetin is an antioxidant that helps relieve asthma by blocking some of the inflammatory responses in the airways. Quercetin can be found in apples, onions, cherries, asparagus, cranberry juice, fennel, raspberries, spinach, and sweet potatoes.  Rosmarinic acid is an antioxidant that encourages cells to make compounds that keep airways open for easy breathing.  Rosmarinic acid can be found in rosemary, sage, oregano, and peppermint.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have strong anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce the inflammation that leads to asthma symptoms. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, sardines, cod, flaxseeds, and walnuts. Dietary fish intake has an inverse relationship with the risk of asthma, meaning the more fish eaten, the less risk of asthma.

Sources

  1. Bowden, J. (2007). The 150 healthiest foods on earth: The surprising, unbiased truth about what you should eat and why.  Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.
  2. Mateljan, G. (2007). The world’s healthiest foods: Essential guide for the healthiest way of eating. Seattle, WA: George Mateljan Foundation.
  3. Miller, A. (2001). The etiologies, pathophysiology, and alternative/complementary treatment of asthma . Altern Med Rev 2001;6(1):20-47. Retrieved from http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/6/1/20.pdf