Eating a Plant-Based Diet Could Help Manage Asthma Symptoms

Approximately 11% of the population (around 2.7 million Australians) have asthma, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

So, the current COVID-19 infection, which is a respiratory illness, is alarming for asthmatics.

A newly published research paper has reviewed the current literature in this area and found that consuming a plant-based diet alongside your asthma care plan can help manage common symptoms, as reported by mind body green.

The research, which was published in the Nutrition Reviews journal, describes asthma as a “common chronic disorder in which the airways become inflamed and narrow, causing periods of airflow obstruction. Common symptoms during acute episodes include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.”

According to the paper, consuming high amounts of fruit and veggies and decreasing the number of animal products in your diet could be the answer.

“High consumption of fruits and vegetables was found to be associated with reduced risk of developing asthma in children and adults,” especially oranges and apples. This is because fruits and veg are filled with antioxidants, which “contribute to reduced airway inflammation.”

“Antioxidants are molecules that scavenge free radicals and reduce them by donating an electron, in order to prevent oxidative damage. The lungs are exposed to endogenous and environmental oxidants, which, if left unbalanced by the antioxidant defence system, can result in oxidative stress and pulmonary dysfunction.

“Antioxidants prevent, intercept, and repair the effects of oxidation and cellular damage. Some antioxidants are produced endogenously, while others must be obtained via dietary sources. Dietary antioxidants include vitamins E and C, carotene, ubiquinone, flavonoids, and selenium.”

Researchers noted that high consumption is defined as one serve of fruit per day, or half a cup of fruits or veggies a day.

“Many of the reviewed studies show an association between consuming fruits and vegetables once a day and a reduced odds of asthma and reduced incidence of wheezing.”

The Mediterranean diet, which emphasises eating heaps of vegetables and only small amounts of meat, has also been associated with reduced asthma symptoms in children.

According to the review paper, a study that contained 158 children with asthma found that “higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with greater lung function than the children with the lowest adherence.”

On the other hand, high-fat diets were thought to have a negative effect on asthma, with some results suggesting “that various dietary fats may influence airway inflammation.”

“This groundbreaking research shows that filling our plates with plant-based foods—and avoiding dairy products and other high-fat foods—can be a powerful tool for preventing and managing asthma,” said Hana Kahleova, M.D., Ph.D, the author of the study.

Ultimately, asthmatics should take their daily medication as required and consult their doctor before making any changes to their asthma management.

This disorder can be fatal, so it’s best not to mess with meds. Instead, treat your dietary choices as something that can be used in conjunction with prescribed medications.

The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

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