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Asthma is a condition in which an individual’s airways become narrow, inflamed, and produce extra mucus, making breathing difficult. Furthermore, in severe cases, a whistling sound (wheezing) can be heard when you breathe out as well as shortness of breath occurs.
Asthma affects nearly 262 million people every year. Asthma is one of the major non-communicable diseases.
According to Ayurveda, Asthma is caused due to imbalanced Vata Dosha, and Kapha Dosha which causes symptoms like difficulty in breathing, chest pain & tightness, wheezing cough, fever and irritability.
Asthma in Ayurveda is mentioned in “Pranavaha Sroto Vikara” as “Swasa Rog which is a common lung condition that causes regular breathing difficulties.
Let’s know what causes asthma
There are various causes of Asthma which are as follows:
- Exposure to smoke, dust, and wind.
- Cold winds, cold food and drinks aggravate Vata Dosha and Kapha Dosha.
- Family history.
- Air Pollution.
- Occupational exposures.
- Weakness of the respiratory system.
- Weak Digestion
What are the signs and symptoms of Asthma?
- Shortness of breath.
- Wheezing while exhaling.
- Tightening of the chest along.
- Extreme pain as well as pressure.
- Frequent cough.
How Does Diet Play an Important Role in Asthma?
We should make an improvement in our eating habits and food choices in our day-to-day lives. The triggering factor of Asthma is likely present in the food we consume. A proper diet is essential as it balances the Kapha Dosha and Pitta Dosha.
We need to pay attention to the changes in our diet that what we are eating, how we are eating and when we are eating. Ayurvedic Treatment for Asthma gives relief if the rules of the diet are followed strictly along with compulsory changes in diet.
Best Food For Asthma
There are various herbs which help in relieving symptoms of Asthma. Some of them are as follows:
Jeshthamadh/ Mulethi (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Jeshthamadh is extensively used in Ayurveda to treat both respiratory disorders. The herb is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help lower the risk of asthma attacks and other bronchial conditions.
Haldi is a spice that we’re all familiar with, however, it is also a crucial Ayurvedic herb. Its anti-inflammatory properties, linked to curcumin, reduce airway obstruction in Asthma.
Shunthi (Dried Ginger)
Shunthi or dried ginger is a herb that is highly valuable in Ayurveda for its therapeutic potential. Ginger is also used to treat asthma and can reduce allergic symptoms through its antioxidant effects and anti-inflammatory.
Tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum)
Tulsi remains one of the most respected herbs in India for both its medicinal and spiritual significance. It has numerous actions including antimicrobial, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-asthmatic which can also help in curing asthma.
2. Cow’s Desi Ghee
Cow’s desi ghee is believed as the best food for asthma. According to the ancient practice of Ayurveda, it was believed that prevention is better than cure, and detoxification of the body is one of the ways to avoid infections and stay healthy.
The easiest detox is Ayurveda and which recommends putting cow’s ghee in your nostrils to cure breathing difficulties and it also keeps infections at bay.
Consuming Cow’s Desi ghee boosts immunity as well as miraculously cures the symptoms of Asthma.
3. Fruits and vegetables
Diet for Asthma includes consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables so as to get maximum advantage in the cure of Asthma. Fruits like pomegranate, muskmelon, watermelon, papaya, sugarcane, apple and pear give immense benefits for healing Asthma.
Fruits consist of selenium, antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamins E and C, which can reduce lung irritation and swelling and helps the body in the process of detoxifying.
Some dried fruits contain sulfites which should be highly avoided. Sulfites are a type of preservative mostly present in preserved foods, pickled foods or vegetables, lime juice and bottled lemon, as well as dried fruits should not be consumed as they can worsen the symptoms of Asthma. Also, avoid eating bananas as they are cold in prakriti, so they can aggravate symptoms of Asthma.
On the other hand, Vegetables including ginger, garlic, beans, bitter gourd, round gourd, bottle gourd, broccoli, peas, carrot, radish and cauliflower are good for Asthma patients. Consumption of vegetables tends to improve the respiratory system’s functions and manage symptoms such as wheezing.
For instance, Vegetable Daliya (Broken Wheat or Bulgar wheat) and Vegetable soups are the best options. These can be made with various vegetables such as carrots, onion, garlic, ginger, tomato, potato, peas, and beans.
4. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid
A higher level of Omega-3 fatty acid in the blood can manage asthma well. Additionally, children with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to have asthma and other respiratory diseases.
Olive Oil significantly improves blood vessels’ ability and helps in lowering the symptoms of asthma.
One of the sources of omega-3 fatty acids is flax seeds. It contains magnesium which relaxes the muscles surrounding the bronchi and airways and keeps them open.
5. Eat Vitamin D and E-rich food
Diet in Asthma includes Vitamin D and E. Vitamin D and E are fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin D is produced in the skin from exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D improves bone health and also helps strengthen the immune response of the body. Getting adequate vitamin D can reduce the severity of asthma episodes.
The best foods which contain Vitamin D are Broccoli, Peaches, Apricots, sweet potato, Mango, Papaya, Carrots, and peppers.
Vitamin E is found in seeds, oils, and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin E is crucial for the health and function of your brain, eyes, skin, and reproductive organs.
The best foods which contain Vitamin E are Avocado, Broccoli, Olive oil, Spinach, Sunflower seeds and other seeds, and Tofu.
Like vitamin C, vitamin E also has antioxidant effects that can aid people with asthma.
Worst Foods For Asthma
Diet has the ability to worsen the symptoms and any food item which can aggravate the symptoms of asthma is considered the worst food for Asthma. Apart from this, Virudha Ahar should be avoided as it is one of the significantly worst foods for asthma. For instance, It is a combination of White Radish (Muli) with milk and Clarified butter (Desi Ghee) with honey at night.
1. Non-vegetarian Diet and Alcohol
Non-Vegetarian food is heavy to digest and can aggravate the symptoms and leads to an imbalance of Kapha Dosha.
Large amounts of meat which is high in saturated fat such as red meat, Salmon, poultry and sausages can flare up excessive inflammation throughout the body, including the lungs due to its high protein intake.
Alcohol is at the top of the list of worst foods for asthma. A chemical called histamine gets released by the immune system when allergens enter your body. This chemical causes an allergic reaction. Something similar happens when wine and beer are consumed. This leads your body to respond to the chemical as an asthma flareup or trigger. Some people suffer a more severe asthma attack while others suffer from a stuffy nose only.
To preserve the freshness of the wine preservative named sulfite is used especially in red wine and it is best to avoid beer also. Sulfite helps keep the wine from turning its colour brown. This preservative frequently causes an allergic reaction, especially in or near middle age. This sulfite allergy could flare up asthma, in turn becoming an asthma attack.
2. Junk/Fast Food
There is a significant relation between the consumption of processed food and severe asthma, along with other conditions like wheezing and severe eczema. Poor-quality diets such as burgers, pizza, chowmein, fried food, and oily food lead to more inflammation in the lungs, which can worsen asthma symptoms.
In addition, people who eat high quantities of junk food mostly neglect to eat more nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables, which have been shown to help protect the body against inflammation.
Changing your diet preferences can help in reducing the severity of asthma that you experience, as well as boost your immunity. Since asthma is usually a chronic condition, dietary choices which are healthier should be chosen as a long-term goal of treatment.
Making dietary changes may seem a tedious task, however, doing so can have a lot of positive effects on your health. If you have severe asthma, bringing change in your eating habits is essential that is by avoiding junk food and eating homemade food which will be a good option for managing your symptoms. Since processed food negatively activates your immune system and promotes inflammation, making other food choices is best. Healthier foods, such as vegetables and fruits, may actually help protect your body against asthma attacks.
3. Say No to Dairy products
One of the worst foods for asthma includes dairy products such as Milk, Curd, condensed milk, buttermilk, cheese, and yoghurt tend to aggravate the symptoms of Asthma as they increase the Kapha Dosha. Dairy products can increase inflammation as it encourages mucus formation and can block your airways.
These products can cause coughing, inflamed airways, wheezing, and asthma. Some people suffer from dairy product allergies and are lactose intolerant, so they should avoid consuming milk or milk products.
The symptoms of allergies can vary from swelling and hives to digestive and respiratory symptoms. Anaphylactic shock can also take place and can be life-threatening, as it affects a person’s ability to breathe.
Lactose intolerance is due to lactose malabsorption. This condition means people have difficulty in digesting lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk, and products made from milk.
Excess curd, unboiled milk and cold dairy product like ice creams should be avoided by patients suffering from asthma. Hence, it is believed that dairy products are one of the worst foods for asthma and should be avoided completely in the treatment of asthma.
4. Pulses and Stale food
Pulses are difficult to digest and lead to gas formation. It can put pressure on the diaphragm especially if you have acid reflux. This can cause chest tightness and flare-up asthma symptoms. Pulses should be avoided in Asthma. Especially cooked beans can be more allergenic than raw beans and even bean protein inhaled from cooking fumes can give rise to an allergic reaction such as asthma.
The asthma patient’s diet should avoid stale and overcooked, and contaminated food. The food must be properly cooked and should not be consumed by patients with asthma as stale food can aggravate the symptoms of asthma and can increase inflammation. Therefore, freshly cooked meals can be consumed as well as freshly made salads can be consumed.
5. Sour and Cold food
Foods to avoid for Asthma include sour products in prakriti and they should not be consumed as they can increase the risk of asthma attacks. For instance, Citrus fruits, the pulp in these fruits can be one of the major triggers of asthma. It is best to avoid them. Citrus fruits and dishes like tamarind, pickles, chutneys, and lemonade increase the risk of an asthma attack.
Apart from Sour food, you should not eat cold and refrigerated drinks as they can lead to lung spasms. Avoid all cold bakery products, cold chocolate, pastries and cakes, fruit jellies, jams and any prepared cold or frozen foods.
In a nutshell, the right food items help in healing the symptoms and boost immunity and this further can improve the symptoms of asthma. Whereas wrong food choices can lead to aggravation of symptoms and can leave patients with severe lung diseases.
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