Does Diet Influence Asthma?

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It is estimated that around 2.7 million Australians had Asthma in 2018. With so many individuals suffering from asthma, there is so much information out there, particularly around what to eat to manage asthma. Today we are going to be looking into the relationship between diet and asthma.

 

Below are some common dietary related questions related to asthma:

 

Is there a best type of diet to help manage asthma?

The answer is we should be eating a healthy and balanced diet to help manage our asthma. This is because fresh fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which may improve our overall lung health and prevent asthma attacks. We want to be aiming for a balanced diet that includes 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit, everyday. Including fish, especially oily fish  into our diets 1-2x per week may also have a beneficial effect on our asthma.

It is important that you lower your intake of saturated fats as these may increase your risk of asthma attacks. Ways to reduce our saturated fat intake include reducing our intake of fast food, opting for food that is grilled rather than fried and choosing leaner cuts of meat.

Managing your weight:

Carrying excess body weight can make managing asthma harder. It is important that we work towards your ideal body weight, which may lead to fewer symptoms and less medication. Losing even 5-10% of your current weight can result in improving your asthma, reducing your symptoms and medication use.

Weight loss may also help you to sleep better as well.This is because breathing problems, such as snoring are more prevalent in overweight individuals and can make asthma harder to manage. Before starting on a weight loss journey it is important to talk to your doctor, in order to check how your asthma is going.

 

Can I still enjoy milk and dairy?

There are a lot of misconceptions around dairy intake and asthma. The current evidence around dairy foods and asthma show that dairy foods don’t cause or worsen asthma, meaning there is no need to cut these foods out of your diet. You can still enjoy milk, cheese and yoghurt as part of a balanced diet (unless you have a proven allergy to cow’s milk).

 

What about exercise?

You can still be physically active if you suffer from asthma. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days. Start by choosing an activity that you enjoy! 

Another option may be structured exercise, research shows that people with asthma who undertake some form of physical training feel better.

It is common to have asthma symptoms after exercise, which are treatable. However it is important to talk to your doctor about these symptoms and the best treatment option.

 

In summary it is important to eat a balanced diet that is full of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, dairy products and grains. It is also important that we reduce our intake of saturated fat in order to manage our asthma.

 

Do you suffer from asthma and are unsure what to eat, or need assistance managing your weight? Book in with our dietitian today!

 

Laura Goodridge (Dietitian) at Total Balance Healthcare

This blog post is an educational tool only.  It is not a replacement for medical advice from a registered and qualified doctor or health professional.

Any other questions not answered here? Get in touch with us! Phone:  (03) 97738085    

 

References:

  1. https://www.nationalasthma.org.au/living-with-asthma/resources/patients-carers/factsheets/healthy-eating-for-asthma
  2. Guilleminault L, Williams EJ, Scott HA, Berthon BS, Jensen M, Wood LG. Diet and Asthma: Is It Time to Adapt Our Message?. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1227. Published 2017 Nov 8. doi:10.3390/nu9111227
  3. https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.001~2017-18~Main%20Features~Asthma~35#:~:text=Around%202.7%20million%20Australians%20(one,population%20remained%20steady%20(10.8%25).

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