Prevent Asthma Attacks through Diet and Lifestyle Changes

Prevent Asthma Attacks through Diet and Lifestyle Changes

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  1. By Jenny Rollo Stock.Xchng 702471Asthma is a chronic lung condition that causes airways to become inflamed and constricted during an attack.  According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), an estimated 20 million Americans have asthma with 6.3 million being children under the age of 18.  More than 5,000 people die each year from asthma.  For that reason, proper treatment of asthma is necessary to live a healthy life.  In many cases, medication is used to help prevent or stop an attack before it becomes dangerous.  The goal, however, is to prevent the attacks from occurring altogether.  Attacks are triggered by many different stimuli, such as food allergies, dust allergies, stress, high humidity, exercise and many more.  The good news is many of these stimuli can be avoided.  Eating a healthy diet and avoiding certain foods can also help to prevent asthma attacks.  Here are a few ways for asthmatics to stay healthy and prevent asthma attacks from occurring.

    Beware Food Allergies

    Food allergies, such as reactions to peanuts, wheat or dairy, and allergies to food additives and preservatives, such as dyes, MSG, and sulfites, can all be triggers to asthma attacks.  Pay particular attention to what foods are eaten before an attack occurs so you can eliminate these foods from the diet.  A diet of fresh, healthy foods and fewer processed foods is always the healthy way to go.

    Enjoy the Good Fatty Acids

    Since inflammation is the culprit in asthma attacks, eating foods that help keep the body free of inflammation can help reduce asthma attacks.  A diet high in the essential Omega-3 fatty acids helps reduce inflammation in the lungs.  Do eat foods such as salmon, flaxseed, halibut and mackerel.  On the other side, avoid foods rich in the bad fats as they increase inflammation in the body.  Eat very little of red meats, shellfish, vegetable oil and eggs. 

    Lower the Carbohydrates

    A diet high in carbohydrates can increase inflammation in the body, especially for those on steroid medication widely used for asthma and allergies.  Choose a diet low in carbohydrates and high in protein for less inflammation.

    Fill up on Carrots

    Foods rich in beta carotene, such as carrots, broccoli and spinach, are good anti-inflammatory foods that can help prevent asthma attacks.

    Add Antioxidants

    Adding plenty of antioxidant-rich foods helps protect the lungs from toxins and prevents asthma attacks.  Eat plenty of healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables every day.

    Increase Intake of Vitamins B6 and B12

    Studies have found that asthmatics who regularly take theophylline-containing medications develop a deficiency in vitamin B6.  Studies also show that asthma patients who take vitamin B12 reduce the occurrence of an asthma attack.  Try taking a B-complex vitamin each day to assure you are getting enough of this essential vitamin.

    Take Magnesium

    Asthma patients tend to have less magnesium in their system which can cause airways to respond more quickly to an asthma attack.  By getting the recommended daily allowance of magnesium in your diet, 100 to 300 milligrams, it can actually help keep airways from becoming inflamed less often.

    Get Plenty of Sleep

    Sleep helps to keep the immune system healthy and free of colds and other illnesses which can trigger asthma attacks.  Try getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep each night to ward off asthma attacks.

    Avoid Stress

    Stress lowers the immune system and makes it harder for the body to fight inflammation which can result in an asthma attack.  Try to lower the stress in your life, or at least try to manage it.  Daily exercise, yoga or meditation can help you lower the stress in your life.

    Eliminate Smoke

    If you are asthmatic, you already know that you shouldn’t smoke.  If you are a smoker it is imperative to quit smoking for healthier lungs and less asthma attacks.  Try also to stay away from others who smoke as well as places where smoking is permitted.  Clean, fresh air is always best for those who suffer from asthma.

    Remember the Basics

    If you are asthmatic, you have already heard all the basic advice but it doesn’t hurt to review.  Keep your home as clean and dust free as possible.  Wear a face mask when cleaning so you don’t breath in harmful fumes and dust.  Keep your home mold free.  If possible, heat your home with electricity instead of wood, oil or gas.  Use an air purifier or air conditioner in your home to keep the air clean and humidity free. 

    There is no cure for asthma but there are many ways to manage it.  Always follow your doctor’s instructions and take your prescription medications as directed.  Having asthma doesn’t have to hold you back.  By following the above suggestions and taking your medications as needed, you can live a healthy, active lifestyle.    

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