Anytime you suffer from a long-term or chronic illness, the desire to find ways to reduce or eliminate symptoms as much as possible is understandable. If you have asthma, you might be interested in some natural methods to manage this condition to help you breathe better and minimize attacks. Making some changes to your diet may help and it is a generally safe approach that is worth a shot. If food is something that affects your symptoms, it is empowering to know you can play an active role in your health by simply making different dietary choices.
Eliminating Food Allergens
The foods we eat can affect our health in numerous ways. Consider getting tested for food allergies; while you may associate food allergies with symptoms such as restricted breathing and swollen lips, they can also affect how your body functions. You may also have an intolerance, which is not an outright allergy but simply that your body does not process this food well.
Experimenting with an elimination diet, where you cut out one common food allergen at a time and slowly introduce it back into your diet, can determine if certain foods may be causing your symptoms. The foods that account for 90 percent of all food allergies are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy. You may consider working with a health care professional knowledgeable about the role of diet in managing health for guidance.
Testing for Histamine Intolerance
Allergy UK, an organization that provides support for asthma sufferers, reports that histamine intolerance may aggravate health problems like asthma. This substance is found in a large number of foods and if you lack adequate production of the enzyme your body uses to break it down, its build up may negatively impact your health. A partial list of foods high in histamine include red wine, beer, cheese—fermented in particular, brewer’s yeast, shellfish, fish, tomatoes, spinach, chicken, pork, chocolate, fermented products such as soy sauce and sauerkraut, citrus fruits, berries, raisins, dates and currants. Avoid foods made with preservatives and artificial colors. Cut out these types of foods for two to four weeks to see if histamine intolerance may be contributing to your asthma symptoms.
Eating an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Like many conditions, inflammation is at the root of and exacerbates asthma. Physician and natural health expert Dr. Andrew Weil recommends eating a diet that reduces inflammation as much as possible if you suffer from this condition. If you suspect certain foods on this list may trigger symptoms, such as soy, a common allergen, do not include them.
When it comes to fats, cut down on saturated animal fats, oils high in omega-6 fatty acids such as sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil and soy oil, and trans fats. Omega 6-fatty acids actually offer health benefits but when eaten in excess, as is typical in the American diet, they cause inflammation and other potential problems. To cut down on trans fats, avoid any foods that note hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil among their ingredients; fried foods and many pastry type products often contain trans fats.
Eat more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids—they trigger production of hormone-like chemical s that combat inflammation. Examples include salmon and other cold-water fish, walnuts, soy beans, tofu and flax seeds. Opt for whole grains rather than refined grains. Eat copious amounts of fruits and vegetables; include a wide range of colors to maximize your intake of the inflammation-fighting substances available in plant foods.
Changing our eating habits is something that we often struggle with. You may find it inconvenient to make these changes. It may involve giving up foods you feel like you cannot live without. But, if the end result is better health, I think it is worth the time and effort. How great would it be to feel better and to feel like you are taking an active role in your health?
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who specializes in health and wellness content. She has a passion for healthy living and loves that she is able to share knowledge that can help others improve their health. If you suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions, check out http://www.rabbitair.com/ for information on how an air purifier may help.