If you or a loved one has asthma, you know how frightening and debilitating it can be. You may also know that asthma is on the rise. But did you know that there is something you can do to help prevent asthma and asthma attacks . . . and that all you have to do is eat . . . well, eat the right foods, the natural healing foods for asthma?
When I was in elementary school, I was the only child in my class with asthma. In fact, I was the only child I knew — or had even heard of — who had asthma. Things have changed. Today asthma is “the most common chronic disease of childhood [and] in the United States, it is estimated that nearly 5 million youngsters under age 18 have this disease.” (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America)
Every day, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America:
- 40,000 people miss school or work due to asthma.
- 30,000 people have an asthma attack.
- 5,000 people visit the emergency room due to asthma.
- 1,000 people are admitted to the hospital due to asthma.
- 11 people die from asthma.
What an Asthma Attack Feels Like
An asthma attack (bronchospasm) usually involves an allergic immune system, an inherited trait, and exposure to an environmental trigger such as mold spores, pollen, animal dander, air pollution, cold air, or cigarette smoke. Sometimes an attack can be triggered by a cold or respiratory infection, exercise, laughter or crying, anger, or stress.
When someone experiences an asthma attack, the muscles around the bronchial tubes in the lungs contract. This narrows the airways and makes it hard to breathe. Try pinching your nose shut and going about your regular activities and you might get some idea of what it’s like.
The other side of asthma is a little less dramatic and involves (chronic) inflammation of the lungs. This side of asthma isn’t so noticeable but is always present. According to Ronald Simon, M.D., head of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, California, it leads to “the membranes lining the inner walls of the air passages [becoming] swollen and leaky. And the glands within these walls produce excess mucus [making] it harder for the lungs to do their job of gas exchange, picking up oxygen from the air and dumping carbon dioxide out the body.” (mothernature.com)
What You Can Do to Help Yourself . . . with Food
Well, the good news is that there are some natural things you can do to help yourself. The first thing you can do is avoid foods that can trigger asthma attacks. But the second thing is even better because it will improve your overall health as well as help with your asthma: You can use natural healing foods in a preventative capacity. The goal is to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of foods that will strengthen your immune system, are anti-inflammatory, and help neutralize free radicals.
Foods to Avoid
According to all4naturalhealth.com, many of the foods you should try to eliminate from your diet are those that are mucus-forming:
- refined and processed foods
- flour and flour products
- milk and other dairy products
as well as red meat, which is frequently farmed using questionable methods (e.g., using steroids, growth hormones, antibiotics, etc.) and has been linked to a number of diseases.
Natural Healing Foods to Help Fight Asthma
The foods you want to include in your diet are those that strengthen your immune system, are anti-inflammatory, and help neutralize free radicals. The following list includes foods that include a variety of nutrients that do just those things:
- amaranth, bean sprouts, beets, okra, spinach, Swiss chard, and wheat germ
- oily or fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna
- fruits — apples, apricots, black currants, guavas, kiwis, oranges, papayas,and strawberries
- garlic, ginger, onions
- green tea
- peppers – bell peppers, chile peppers
- sea vegetables — nori, arame and dulse,
- vegetables - baby corn, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Jerusalem artichokes, red cabbage, snow peas, yams
- other - coffee, honey, olives, walnuts
(Sources: All4naturalhealth.com and HealingFoodReference.com)
While you’re trying to incorporate more of these foods into your diet, also keep in mind that
- organic foods are usually preferable because they don’t contain food additives and chemicals, which can increase your body’s toxic load.
- whole foods retain an assortment of nutrients that have been stripped from refined and processed food.
- raw foods are usually a better choice when possible, so keep as much of your food as you can in its “natural state.”
One Last Word
Make a point of noticing how you react to different foods. Allergies seem to be somewhat personal, and if you can determine which foods cause you problems, you may just be able to avoid some asthma attacks.
While every effort is made to insure that the information in this blog is accurate, it is for information and entertainment purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your health care provider before using or taking any home remedies or supplements or following any suggestions on this site. Only your health care provider can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.