Do you have asthma? Here are some tips for asthma patients diet in winter. You must read this article to find the best asthma and diet tips.
Winter season is crucial for asthmatics and this year we are tackling air pollution and coronavirus along which makes it even tougher for them to prevent the triggers. Allergens and irritants are super-active during winters and pollution. It becomes difficult to fight off if you do not know how to combat them. Many people do not know that diet has a vital role to play in asthma management. Do you know what to eat for asthma? If not, here are some nutritionist tips for asthma patients by renowned dietitian Swati Bathwal.
The role of diet for asthma patients
Managing asthma is not limited to using an asthma inhaler and preventing allergens but your food choices also help in monitoring the condition. With that, we would like to throw a little disclaimer that there is no specific diet that one can follow. Also, asthma is an individual thing where different people suffer from different issues with asthma. There may be certain foods that aid someone but it might not necessarily work for others too. Also, there is no conclusive proof that diet can affect the severity or frequency of asthma attacks. It is all about living a healthy life and making the right choices to reduce the frequency of attacks. If you have asthma, you must be eager to know what foods you should eat and what to avoid. One of the major points here is eating fresh & nutritious fruits and vegetables. Research has proved that processed foods trigger asthma and therefore, only fresh foods are advised for asthmatics.
Asthma and Obesity
Dr. Swati Bathwal mentioned a very important point that a lot of people miss out on. Abdominal waist circumference is a vital factor in asthma management. The more it is, the higher risk of asthma prevalence would be there. People with asthma need to take care of the visceral fat as it potentially triggers asthma. To control asthma, one also needs to control weight gain and for that, nothing works better than a diet. Thus, you need to be watchful of what’s on your plate. Having said that, let us take a look at the dietary recommendations by our dietitian.
Foods to eat
Every asthma patient must know their food triggers. This helps in averting flareups and sudden asthma attacks. Nonetheless, here are some common food items that can improve your condition. These provide essential nutrients to better lung functions.
1. Non-Dairy Milk
Dairy is believed to thicken phlegm that causes troubles for the asthma patient. Thus, it is suggested if you could consume non-dairy milk substitutes like almond milk, soy milk, etc. One can consume cow milk but ensure to add cardamom powder to it as it reduces its potency of phlegm formation.
NOTE: If you cannot do without dairy, consume it only in the day-time.
2. Fermented Foods
Even though yogurt comes under dairy products category, Swati Bathwal recommends its consumption but with a pinch of cumin powder. It prevents you from cough and cold. Apart from yogurt, you can have fermented rice water, khaman dhokla, idli-dosa, etc.
3. Trikatu Powder
This is an Ayurvedic mix of three spices- saunth(dry ginger), black pepper (Piper nigrum) and pipali(piper longum). The recommended dosage is 3 grams a day. You can even have 1gm three times a day.
How to consume- People with pitta or coughing issues shall have it with warm water. Others can take this powder with a teaspoon of ghee. It would reduce episodes of coughing.
4. Vitamin C-rich foods
Vitamin C helps in strengthening immunity and therefore you must add immunity-boosting foods such as tulsi(holy basil), turmeric, black pepper, etc. Click here to read the benefits of turmeric, black pepper and ghee combination. This is for long-term prevention.
5. Vitamin D
It is found that vitamin D consumption can prevent the frequency of asthma attacks especially in children aged between 6 to 15 years. Here is a list of the best vitamin D foods:
- Fortified milk
- Orange juice
NOTE: If you are allergic to any of these foods, refrain from having them as they might trigger asthma.
6. Vitamin A
Another vital vitamin that you need to have is vitamin A. Lower levels of vitamin A are associated with asthma. A study found that asthmatic children were identified with low vitamin A in their blood. Better levels are linked with better lung health. You can have these foods:
- Sweet potatoes
- Green leafy veggies
Two apples a day keep cholesterol at bay. Not just that, eating apples also keep asthma under control. There are many benefits of eating apples but do not consume them on an empty stomach as it might cause gastric troubles.
Low magnesium levels can affect lung functions that increase the frequency and volume of asthma triggers. It is a general recommendation to consume magnesium-rich foods such as:
- Dark chocolate
- Pumpkin seeds
These were some foods that you can consume. Let us talk about foods that you need to strictly avoid in your diet.
Foods to avoid when you have asthma
If asthma is due to an allergy fry to stay away from the allergen example some people have allergies to histamines or salicylic acid, they should identify such foods and allergens and remove them immediately from their diet. However, it is better to consult your doctor before proceeding as every individual has different mechanisms.
This is a preservative that may not only trigger asthma but worsen the condition. It is commonly found in shrimp, pickled foods, dried fruits, wine, bottled lime and lemon juice.
2. Gas-causing foods and heavy meals
When you eat any heavy food, your body needs to work additionally to digest it. Not only your stomach would feel the pressure but also your diaphragm. This can lead to chest tightness and asthma flares. The same goes for gas-causing foods. Find below the list of foods:
- Carbonated drinks
- Fried foods
- Onion and garlic
Salicylates are another compound that is maybe triggering asthma without you knowing it. Rarely, some people are allergic to salicylates found in tea, coffee and various other foods. If you ever experience flares after consuming such foods, you are allergic to salicylates.
3. Artificial ingredients
Processed foods or fast foods contain added colours, flavours and chemical preservatives that may cause allergy to asthmatics. It is always better to have fresh and organic food to keep the risk at bay. People who have allergies along with asthma need to take special care.
Other recommendations by Dt. Swati Bathwal
- Put some ghee or clarified butter into your nostrils. It helps by opening airways and preventing infection. This is an old Ayurvedic practice that works!
- To get rid of wheezing and coughing instantly, rub some brown mustard oil to the chest.
- Practice yoga and breathing exercises daily in fresh air to boost lung capacity and better breathing.
These were just a few of general asthma and diet tips by the top nutritionist. With winter being a critical season for asthmatics, you must exercise the suggestions given in this article. This would help in boosting lung functions and reducing asthma flareups. Eat clean and nutritious to manage asthma condition. Diet may not provide aid instantly but it is a long-term solution to monitor asthma.
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