When it comes to food, not everybody reacts the same way and different people need unique diets, suggested by a certified physician or a dietitian for that matter. But there are certain general food items you need to avoid if you want to prevent developing asthma or at least keep the symptoms at minimum.
Asthma causes the air passage in oesophagus to become highly susceptible to closing over also known to be caused by ‘Asthma Triggers”. Once you come into contact with these triggers, chances are you might end up with tightened airways, leading to swelling or excessive production of mucus. These eventually lead to wheezing and other irritations making it difficult to breathe.
Identifying these “Asthma Triggers” along with being able to avoid them is one of the vital methods of handling asthma or even preventing another asthma attack. However it is quite difficult to arrive at conclusion since these triggers vary among different people in different states of health. Hence it is not possible to precisely decipher what aggravates your asthma. This means, every person who has been suffering from asthma or at least have symptoms closely related to it must prepare a “Food Diary” to monitor and analyse what foods suit you and what do not. Since it is a time consuming process and most of us do not have the necessary patience or the time to meticulously note down every little things, we have provided a few general food items that you need to avoid if you have asthma.
Asthma – Causes
- Airborne substances such as mold spores, pollen, dust mites, pet dander or particles of cockroach waste.
- Infections of the respiratory system such as flu or common cold.
- Extreme physical activity also known as Exercise- Induced asthma.
- Continuous exposure to cold air.
- Frequent exposure to air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke.
- Certain common medications available over the counter.
- Prolonged periods of stress, anxiety and depression.
- Addition of excessive sulphites ad preservatives to certain foods including shrimp, dried fruits, processed potatoes, beer, wine etc.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), may also lead to asthma.
Symptoms of Asthma
- Frequent cough, especially during nights
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling very tired or weak with normal physical activity
- Pain or tightness in the chest
- Trouble sleeping.
Those 7 Foods should not take if you have Asthma
Although there is a lot of research going on in connection with asthma and alcohol, many studies and observations till date have clearly shown that consumption of alcohol actually increases the severity of symptoms of asthma. Many times alcohol could be the sole reason behind a full blown asthma attack. Histamines and sulphites are two ingredients in alcohol, responsible for this behaviour.
Histamines are a result of fermentation of alcohol with the production of bacteria and yeast. Histamines are especially abundant in red wine. They are well known for causing problems for people with allergies.
Sulphites also cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to them. It is observed that up to 10% of patients suffering from asthma are sensitive to sulphite additives.
Most pickles you find these days are a rich source of preservatives and sulphites that are potential danger for people with asthma. The high salt content in pickles too is one of the major reasons for you to avoid consuming them if you have asthma. They may easily cause irritations and may meddle with your breathing issues. it may also cause Heart Burn and then affect your lungs indirectly. So make sure you avoid consuming any pickles. If you are the kind that can’t have their morning sandwich without a slice of pickle in it, then make sure you buy one that has minimum amount of preservative and sulphites. Or else why don’t you make one yourself!
Sea food, especially shrimps have a very high content of sulphites. Most sea food grown for commercial purpose is treated with sulphites to prevent dark spots from forming over the skin. While most of the sea food we get today is frozen and preserved, it is a definite NO if you have asthma as preservatives and high sulphite content may cause severe issues. it has been observed in many medical researches and studies that asthma patients who consume sea food regularly are at higher risk of facing series of Asthma Attacks. Therefore it is best to avoid shrimps and sea food that is rich in sulphites and also try to have it fresh and not out of supermarkets!
Although there have been mixed views on how salt impacts the ones suffering from asthma, most of the research finding have shown that excessive intake of salt actually aggravates the symptoms of asthma. Salt in excess is any way not good for one’s health irrespective of asthma. The hallmark feature of asthma being inflammation and tightening of the airways, while salt known or its contribution for inflammation by causing fluid retention does make sense that excessive salt intake is definitely an asthma trigger.
One may not realise they are allergic to peanuts because the symptoms are so similar. In both the cases, symptoms like shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing are seen in both conditions. In some people peanuts can provoke potentially fatal allergic reactions in some people and allergic asthma attacks in some.
Eggs do not have a direct benefit for those with asthma, but they do supply a good amount of vitamin D which may be protective to asthmatics, unless he/she isn’t allergic to them in the first place. Though eggs may benefit asthmatics, since it is a source of Vitamin D, it may also severely damage the same person if he is slightly allergic to them. Although skin conditions such as hives are the most common manifestations of allergies to eggs, asthma is another major reaction. These allergies are more common in children than in adults.
By now you must have understood that sulphites are something you need to avoid if you have asthma. These days it gets more and more difficult as sulphites are a common additive in many foods and drugs. Not only that, they occur naturally in many foods. The combination of sulphites and asthma can be fatal as it can lead to anaphylactic shock. Once this happens, the entire body reacts severely to the allergen. The air passage gets swollen and inflamed making it hard to breathe. Some of the sulphite rich foods include Pickled foods, Vinegar, Dry Fruits, Tinned Coconut milk, Alcohol, Cider, Vegetable juices, soft drinks, bottled lemon juice, bottled sauces, preserved and canned food items, preserved sea food, processed meat etc.