Asthma is a chronic condition in which the airways are hypersensitive and it is characterized by restriction of airways commonly referred to as an asthma attack. The prevalence of asthma has been increasing every decade, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention one out of every twelve adults have asthma. (1) Presently there is no known origin of asthma but there are a variety of different treatments that include medicines that are designed to support airways. Additionally, there are nutritionally relevant factors to consider such as weight, nutrient deficiencies and food allergies or sensitivities.
At present there no clear relationship but a growing area of research is examining if a relationship exist between obesity and asthma. It is clear that with obesity that there is a reduction in lung volume and an increase in inflammation and this may contribute to the chronic inflammation associated with asthma. (2) You may find benefit in maintaining a healthful weight and addressing weight loss if necessary, because some studies have shown improved symptoms with weight loss. (3)
Diets deficient in vitamin C, E, A, D, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with asthma. Although there is conflicting evidence if any of these nutrients alone can reduce symptoms, diets containing these nutrients can reduce inflammation are essential to overall health.
GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease) and food allergies are very common triggers for asthma. (4) To address GERD it may prove beneficial to limit irritants such as tomato sauce, orange juice, coffee, spicy food, high fat foods and exercise portion control. Allergies such as those to eggs, peanuts, dairy, sulfites and a host of others’ can trigger asthma. If you suspect that you have a food allergy, try keeping a food/symptom journal and address any underlying health concern that could exacerbate asthma.
- Asthma’s Impact on the Nation. (2016, June 15). Retrieved June 15, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/impacts_nation/default.htm
- Beuther, D. A., Weiss, S. T., & Sutherland, E. R. (2016). Obesity and Asthma. Am j Respir Crit Care Med, 174, 112-119. doi:10.18411/a-2017
- E. Jensen , P. G. Gibson , C. E. Collins , J. M. Hilton , L. G. Wood. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2013; (43) 775–784.
- Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krauses food & the nutrition care process. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.