Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects an estimated 24 million people in the United States alone. This means that one out of every eleven Americans suffers from this condition, debilitating and life-threatening.
People living with asthma are advised to avoid certain foods/drinks due to their high content of histamines, preservatives, additives, dairy products, or wheat products.
These 10 foods/drinks are some examples of what you should try to stay away from if you have asthma.
Wheat products are some of the most common allergen triggers and should be avoided by people with gluten-related allergies. Wheat contains a protein named 'gluten' that has been shown to cause multiple health problems, including asthma.
Spicy foods typically contain high amounts of histamines and other types of spices that can irritate your respiratory systems, such as garlic or onion powder. People who have asthma should avoid foods like curry because it has been linked to triggering attacks in susceptible individuals for this reason.
Mushrooms and yeast extract also contain histamines that can worsen asthma symptoms, so you should avoid foods like mushrooms, Marmite, and Bovril if you have asthma. This is especially true for children who already have asthma.
Some people may experience mild wheezing after consuming citrus fruits and juices, such as oranges and grapefruit. The chemicals cause this in these foods that can trigger your immune system to create more histamines than usual. Although not everyone with asthma experiences this reaction, you should avoid eating large amounts of oranges or grapefruits if you have asthma symptoms. It has been shown that drinking a glass of orange juice can worsen an asthma attack in just five minutes.
You have probably heard before about how food additives and preservatives can cause allergic reactions in some people, but what you may not know is that they can cause asthma symptoms in sensitive individuals. Foods like bacon, ham, and sausages contain high amounts of preservatives called nitrates, which trigger inflammation in your respiratory system and affect breathing.
Shellfish such as shrimp, lobster, and crab contain histamines that can trigger asthma symptoms or even an attack when eaten by someone who has the condition. Precautions must be taken before eating these types of shellfish because they contain proteins that are very likely to cause allergies and affect people's respiratory systems (and sometimes their nervous systems too).
Chocolate contains a chemical called 'theobromine' known to worsen bronchoconstriction in people with asthma. This means that chocolate can cause the airways in your lungs to narrow and make it more difficult to breathe. Cocoa powder, which is used to make chocolate, also contains this chemical and should be avoided if you have asthma.
Aspartame, a common artificial sweetener found in foods like diet sodas, has been linked to worsening asthma symptoms in some people. Aspartame is a sugar substitute that is 200 times sweeter than sugar and has been shown to interact with cells in the respiratory system, causing inflammation.
diary products are one of the most common food allergens and can trigger an asthma attack in some people. This is because dairy products are rich in proteins that are likely to cause allergies, including whey protein, casein protein, and milk protein. Avoiding dairy products is especially important for children with asthma or who have a family history of the condition.
You should avoid drinking alcohol if you have asthma because it can trigger symptoms of an attack. Alcohol has toxic chemicals that can provoke inflammation during an asthma episode and usually worsen symptoms. People who have conditions like gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) may experience more severe symptoms after consuming alcoholic beverages because alcohol relaxes the sphincter at the top of the stomach, allowing acid to move up into the throat. If you occasionally consume alcohol, it is less likely to provoke symptoms if you drink beer rather than hard liquor.
Fried foods like French fries, onion rings, and chicken tenders are high in fat and calories and worsen asthma symptoms. The oils used for frying these foods can also trigger an asthma attack. If you love fried food, try baking or grilling instead, both of which are healthier cooking methods.
In conclusion, eating large amounts of these foods may not always cause asthma symptoms, but it is best to be cautious and avoid eating them if you have asthma or experience symptoms like wheezing.