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Asthma diet: Does what you eat make a difference?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/asthma-diet/AN01998
- With Mayo Clinic asthma and allergy specialist
James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.read biographyclose window
James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.James Li, M.D.
"People with allergy or asthma can lead full and healthy lives." — Dr. James Li
Dr. James Li is chair of the Division of Allergic Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine and a board-certified asthma and allergy specialist. He hopes his expertise and the information on the site educates health care consumers in an area of rapid change both in medications and diagnoses.
"There are a lot of misperceptions about allergy and asthma," says Dr. Li, a New York City native who has been with Mayo since 1985 and works with a group of subspecialists in allergy, asthma and immunology. "I believe it's important to provide truthful, accurate information about allergy and asthma to the public. The more people know, the better they can take care of these conditions."
Dr. Li is a professor of medicine at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. He's a past director of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, and the American Board of Internal Medicine. He's a fellow in the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology honored him with the Distinguished Service Award, and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology with its Special Recognition Award.
Tests and diagnosis (1)
- Reactive airway disease: Is it asthma?
- Asthma and acid reflux: Are they linked?
Treatments and drugs (2)
- LABAs for asthma — Should I stop taking them?
- Albuterol side effects: What's normal?
Lifestyle and home remedies (3)
- Ozone air purifiers: Can they improve asthma symptoms?
- Asthma: Why are symptoms worse during my period?
- Asthma diet: Does what you eat make a difference?
- Hygiene hypothesis: Early germ exposure prevents asthma?
Asthma diet: Does what you eat make a difference?
Can foods I eat affect my asthma symptoms?
from James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.
There's no asthma diet that will eliminate your symptoms. But these steps may help:
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. They're a good source of antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamins C and E, which may help reduce lung swelling and irritation (inflammation) caused by cell-damaging chemicals known as free radicals.
- Take in vitamin D. People with more severe asthma may have low vitamin D levels. Milk, eggs and fish such as salmon, all contain vitamin D. Even spending a few minutes outdoors in the sun can increase vitamin D levels.
- Avoid sulfites. Sulfites can trigger asthma symptoms in some people. Used as a preservative, sulfites can be found in wine, dried fruits, pickles, fresh and frozen shrimp and some other foods.
- Avoid allergy-triggering foods. Having asthma puts you at increased risk for having a food allergy. And allergic food reactions can cause asthma symptoms. In some people, exercising after eating an allergy-causing food leads to asthma symptoms.
- Eat to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can worsen asthma. Even losing a little weight can improve your symptoms. Learn how to eat right to maintain a healthy weight over the long term.
It's also possible that eating less salt (sodium) or eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (oils found in cold water fish and some nuts and seeds) may reduce asthma symptoms. But more research is needed to verify this.
Making informed choices about what foods to eat and what foods to avoid won't cure asthma. But it may improve your symptoms and your overall health.Next question
Hygiene hypothesis: Early germ exposure prevents asthma?
- Arvaniti F, et al. Dietary habits and asthma: A review. Allergy and Asthma Proceedings. 2010;31:e1.
- Gillman A, et al. What do asthmatics have to fear from food and additive allergy? Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 2010;40:1295.
- Liu AH, et al. National prevalence and risk factors for food allergy and relationship to asthma: Results from the national health and nutrition examination survey 2005-2006. Clinical & Experimental Allergy; 2010;126:798.
- Marcon A, et al. Body mass index, weight gain, and other determinants of lung function decline in adult asthma. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2009;123:1069.