Asthma is a chronic condition triggered by certain allergens that cause breathlessness, wheezing and coughing by affecting the lungs. This happens because when in contact with an allergen, the mucous membrane gets irritated and as a result, the airways swell up.
Asthma is most often not treated as a critical affliction but doctors are of the opinion that it cannot only cause severe discomfort but can also be fatal. According to a study conducted by WHO, today, about 235 million people around the world suffer from asthma. There are two major causes of asthma: environmental and genetic.
Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include:
- Airborne substances, such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander or particles of cockroach waste
- Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
- Physical activity (exercise-induced asthma)
- Cold air
- Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke
- Certain medications
- Strong emotions and stress
- Food additives
A good diet is an important part to treat asthma. Just like regular workouts, a healthy diet is good for everyone. That goes for people with asthma, too.
So here is the list of foods / food items which are the best and worst for asthma patients.
Certain foods, such as milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish, and food additives can trigger asthma symptoms. It is best to avoid these foods if they trigger an asthma attack.
Food to be consumed:
- Turmeric: A pinch of turmeric boiled with milk and taken warm not only reduces inflammation in body, but also keeps the body hot from within.
- Honey: Honey is considered warm. It contains small quantities of antigens found in flowers and helps in building up immunity. Protects from wheezing, coughing.
- Ginger: It contains antioxidants that help build strong resistance. If taken daily in small quantities, it not only keeps the body warm but also cures mild fever, acidity, common cold, cough and aids digestion.
- Ghee: Ghee is rich with antioxidants and acts as an aid in the absorption of vitamins and minerals from other foods. It is good for skin and hair and is said to aid in tissue building process. Onions deep fried in ghee and mixed with pepper when taken hot cure cough.
- Garlic: Garlic becomes an essential item to be included in food as it not only controls blood pressure and ensures proper flow of blood, but also keeps the body warm and energetic.
- Tulsi: Rich in vitamin A, C, calcium, zinc and iron, Tulsi helps body fight all cold borne diseases like cough, cold, sinusitis, pneumonia and all respiratory disorders. It is also a powerful antiseptic and anti-malarial agent. Taken raw with pepper and honey in empty stomach, it is an excellent remedy for cough and cold.
- Pepper: Pepper with its anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties is a must have. Besides keeping the body warm it also cures cold, cough and sinusitis.
- Saffron: Saffron or Kesari has been hailed as the source of beauty and health since times immemorial. When consumed with milk it increases body’s resistance and when mixed with cream and applied on face it makes skin clean, spotless and radiant.
- Nuts: Nuts are a natural source of anti-oxidants and are rich in vitamins and minerals. Powdered nuts taken with milk and honey is the best way to keep body warm from within.
- Coffee: Caffeine is a bronchodilator that may improve airflow. Black tea might be beneficial as well.
- Flax seeds: are high in omega-3 fatty acids as well as magnesium. Omega-3 have a beneficial effect on asthma.
Pavithra N Raj, Chief Dietician, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital Yeshwanthpur, Bengaluru