Diet Plays An Important Role In Asthma
Asthma is not a mere - “wheezing disease”; rather, it is killing millions of people everywhere. As per, WHO, India has 30 million asthmatics which is 10% of the global asthmatic population. Children are affected at much higher rate than the adults. It is the most common chronic condition in children, 1 out of 10 children is found to be asthmatic. There will be an additional 100 million asthmatics worldwide by 2025.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a disease characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing caused due to chronic inflammation of the lungs. It varies in severity and frequency from hour to hour and day to day basis in every individual. It affects the bronchial tubes of the lungs leading to bronchospasms i.e. tightening of the muscles around the airways and the airways gets inflamed as they become sensitive to allergens and other pollutants found in the environment and produce excess amounts of mucus. So all these factors like bronchospasm, inflammation and excess mucus production causes an asthma attack and its symptoms are wheezing, having difficulty in breathing & therefore having difficulty in performing their daily chores along with that, one also experiences coughing and shortness of breath.
Effect of diet on lung functioning
- People who consume more of fast food that is who have higher intake of fat in their diet, this fat gets stored in the abdominal region. For obese people chances of asthma is doubled as compared to a normal individual because their lung function is impaired. The fat in the abdominal region pushes the diaphragm upwards thus preventing lungs to expand while you are breathing.
- If one is suffering from acid reflux that is gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) they have higher chances of getting asthma. The reason is simple - the backflow of the stomach acid into the oesophagus causes injury to the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making inhalation difficult and often causing a persistent cough. Moreover, when the acid enters the oesophagus, a nerve reflex is triggered, causing the airways to narrow in order to prevent the acid from entering. This causes shortness of breath.
- Fatty meal impairs blood circulation to lungs. Usually, the blood cells in the blood vessels flow freely but post one hour after consumption of foods rich in vegetable oil, animal fat causes these blood cells to stick together and a clump is formed. The severity of clump increases with time that is after 6 hours of food intake, this further stops blood circulation to small vessels leading to angina, high blood pressure and fatigue. Several hours late, this clump breaks down and the flow is resumed.
- There are few foods which one might be allergic to, and these leads to inflammation of the airways which again leads to excess mucus production and breathing difficulty.
Steps to prevent or reverse chronic asthma
- The first and foremost step is to quit smoking and use air purifiers.
- Secondly and most effectively switching to a better diet - Plant Based Nutrition Dense Diet.
- Identify the foods which causes acid reflux and avoid eating them along with dairy and animal food.
- Increase the intake of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid, probiotics which helps to restore your gut flora.
- Medications like inhalers, steroids and nebulisers should be one’s last resort.
Take home message
- Asthma is an inflammatory chronic disease of the lungs.
- Avoid contact with allergens and stay away from environmental pollutants as much as possible.
- Plant Based Nutrition Dense Diet not only improves your immune system against these allergens but also helps in reversing the disease.