Diet for asthma patients: Expert warns junk food can lead to inflammation, flaring symptoms

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A well-balanced diet for asthma patients, regular physical activity, and a sound sleep work to support overall health and reduce the risk of flare-up symptoms

New Delhi: Asthma patients diet is an important part of management and treatment of this chronic lung infection. Dr Akshay Budhraja, Senior Consultant- Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Aakash Healthcare, New Delhi warned that junk food, such as processed items, deep fried snacks, are typically high in saturated and trans fats, which can lead to inflammation in the body, including the airways.

Asthma, condition can occur at any age, is brought on by inflammation and tightening of the muscles surrounding the airways, which makes breathing more difficult. Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness are some symptoms. These signs and symptoms can be minor or major, and they can change over time.

Also read: How monsoon triggers asthma symptoms?

“This inflammation can trigger or worsen asthma symptoms, making it more challenging for individuals to breathe,” The expert said.

What habits can make asthma worse?

He added, junk foods are often loaded with sodium, which can contribute to fluid retention and lead to increased airway swelling and constriction. Inflamed and narrowed airways make it difficult for air to pass through, resulting in asthma symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath.

“Moreover, junk foods are low in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are important for maintaining overall lung health. A poor diet lacking in these nutrients weakens the body’s defense mechanisms and leaves the respiratory system more vulnerable to asthma triggers, such as allergens or irritants,” Dr Budhraja said.

Certain additives and preservatives found in processed junk foods may act as asthma triggers for some individuals, further aggravating their condition.

Ways to keep asthma in control

Keeping asthma under control involves a combination of medication, lifestyle adjustments, and awareness of triggers. Some effective ways to manage asthma include identifying your asthma triggers, which can include allergens like dust mites, pollen, pet dander, smoke, strong odors, and cold air.

“Take necessary steps to avoid these triggers whenever possible. Allergies can worsen asthma symptoms, so work with your doctor to manage allergic reactions effectively through allergy shots, antihistamines, or other appropriate treatments. Next step is to work with your healthcare provider to create a personalised asthma action plan that includes daily medication, steps to take during worsening symptoms, and when to seek emergency medical attention,” the expert added.

Read more: How to manage asthma attack?

Also ensure adherence to your prescribed medications to keep your condition under control.

A healthy lifestyle that involves a well-balanced diet, regular physical activity, and a sound sleep work to support overall health and reduce the risk of asthma flare-ups. Additionally, smoking aggravates asthma symptoms and increases the risk of severe attacks.

Thus, it is in your best interest to quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke. Get pneumococcal vaccine and annual flu shot. Stress can also act as a trigger for asthma symptoms, so practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help manage stress. Besides, regularly monitoring your lung function helps you track changes in your asthma and take appropriate action if needed.

While you guard up against asthma triggers, be prepared for emergencies as well. Always carry your quick-relief inhaler with you and educate those around you on how to respond during an asthma attack.

Remember, asthma is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management. By taking proactive steps to control asthma, you can lead a fulfilling life with fewer symptoms and reduced risk of severe asthma attacks.

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