While it’s important to follow your asthma action plan and take your medications as directed, if you get the okay from your doctor first, you can also try adding some key foods and supplements into your diet in order to help keep your asthma in check. The five simple steps below can bring about some important benefits and may even lessen your reliance on conventional medicines:
1. Load up on fruits and vegetables. It’s long been recognized that the antioxidants contained in fresh fruits and vegetables are good for your health. Researchers studied a group of people following the Mediterranean diet (an eating plan that emphasizes fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and healthy fat) and found that these participants had better asthma control than their counterparts. One possible explanation is that the fresh fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and inflammation in the lungs. In addition, fruits and vegetables are low calorie foods that are filling, and they help you maintain a healthy weight, which can help gain better control of asthma.
2. Use fish oil supplements for lung health. When you supplement asthma control efforts with fish oil, you’re adding a valuable source of omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your health and lungs. A study published in the Chest Journal revealed that people with exercise-induced asthma who added fish oil into their menus were able to reduce airway constriction and as a result, used less of their asthma medications. This finding is important on two levels, since it means that fish oil can help manage asthma and can also be a strategy to reduce the risk of side effects from asthma medications.
3. Eat an apple to keep your asthma at bay. You know that apples are good for your health, but did you also know that they can reduce your risk of experiencing an asthma attack? The benefit comes from the powerful antioxidants that are contained in the fruit’s peel (especially in red apples) and provide a natural antihistamine and inflammatory effect that can help allergies and asthma. A study included in the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine found that participants who ate apples twice a week had as much as a third lower risk of developing asthma.
4. Go heavy on milk, eggs, and fish to get more vitamin D. People with more serious forms of asthma seem to be weak on vitamin D, so choosing foods high in this vitamin may provide real benefits. Another easy way to boost your vitamin D levels is by spending a few minutes soaking up the sun’s rays without using sunscreen. (Just be sure to keep your unprotected sun time brief so you don’t trade in one health problem for another one.)
5. Add more spice to your life. The vitamin C contained in hot chili peppers can be good for your health and asthma, too, since it serves as an antioxidant and also fights inflammation. Eating spicy foods for respiratory health may also help clear mucus caused by allergies and asthma. Other sources of vitamin C include the following:
Dark leafy greens
You might also take vitamin C supplements for lung health if you don’t get enough from the foods you eat. Some researchers believe this can help keep the airways working well and may even help minimize wheezing, but more studies are needed to confirm these benefits.