Study: A healthful diet may ease asthma symptoms

Health | 5/12/2022
According to a French study, it might be possible to prevent your asthma symptoms with healthy diet rich in fish and fresh vegetables.

Most of us have heard about the various health benefits of the Mediterranean diet that favours fish, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Thanks to this diet, people have a smaller risk for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases in places like Greece, Italy, and Spain. But could the Mediterranean-style diet help people with asthma, too?

A team of French researchers set out recently to learn more. They surveyed about 2,500 asthmatics about their diet as well as their asthma symptoms and their ability to control them.

People who followed the Mediterranean diet had less problems with their asthma. By consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy fats, such as olive oil, they were able to keep symptoms at bay.

Likewise, asthmatics who ate an unhealthy diet, such as one high in red meat, salt and sugar, were more likely to have trouble controlling their symptoms.

There are also emerging scientific findings that suggest that maintaining a healthy weight could improve the health of asthmatics. A Brazilian study discovered that the prevalence of uncontrolled asthma in people considered to be overweight was 65 per cent higher than those who were deemed to be of normal weight.

The benefits of eating well

Of course, it's not easy to switch to an entirely new diet or change your lifestyle overnight. In addition, treating yourself occasionally is totally okay, too. Managing your asthma consists of many small daily habits, such as taking your medicine, exercising regularly and avoiding your personal asthma triggers.

If you wish to improve your diet, start taking small steps, like cutting back on red meat, sweets or salty foods, like potato chips and adding that cut of salmon, or a heap of spinach or tomatoes to your plate, with some quality olive oil and maybe some sautéed garlic.

The small daily choices will eventually turn into smart habits and might produce some real health benefits for you and your asthma.


By Justin Petrone

Photo by iStock



Andrianasolo RM, Kesse-Guyot E, Adjibade M, Hercberg S, Galan P, Varraso R. Associations between dietary scores with asthma symptoms and asthma control in adults. Eur Respir J. 2018 Jul 11;52(1).

Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvadó J, Covas MI, Corella D, Arós F, Gómez-Gracia E, Ruiz-Gutiérrez V, Fiol M, Lapetra J, Lamuela-Raventos RM. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts. N Engl J Med. 2018 Jun 13.

Forte GC, Almeida JC, da Silva DTR, Hennemann ML, Dalcin PTR. Association between anthropometric markers and asthma control, quality of life and pulmonary function in adults with asthma. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2018 Jul 30.

Guilleminault L, Williams EJ, Scott HA, Berthon BS, Jensen M, Wood LG (2017). Diet and asthma: is it time to adapt our message? Nutrients. 2017 Nov; 9(11): 1227.

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