Asthmatics worried about coronavirus can boost their health with a plant based diet according to new research.
A plant-based diets can help prevent and treat asthma, according to a review published in Nutrition in Clinical Care. This is good news for those who advocate vegan or vegetarian diets as healthy alternatives to the typical North American diet that is high in saturated fat from animal products.
Evidence related to asthma and dietary factors among adults and children was examined by researchers from a Physicians Committee for the study. They discovered that the prevalence of asthma rose over the years as high-fat, Westernized diets increased in popularity.
Fruits and Vegetables
But diets that emphasize fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes and minimize saturated fat reduce the risk for asthma and may improve asthma control.
The authors note the positive effects from consuming plant-based diets rich in antioxidants and fiber on factors including inflammation, oxidation, and gut microbiota as possible mechanisms.
Consuming more fruits and vegetables has been shown to improve lung function in asthmatics and make symptoms more manageable. Fruits and vegetables high in anti-oxidants are particularly beneficial.
Look for magnesium rich foods such as spinach and pumpkin seeds to relax the bronchial muscles.
Consume vegetables high in beta carotene such as carrots and leafy greens.
Get enough Vitamin D from fatty fish like salmon, cod liver oil or enriched orange juice
Consuming dairy was found to increase the risk for asthma and to worsen symptoms in asthma patients.
A 2015 study found that children who consumed the most dairy had higher odds of developing asthma. In another study children with asthma were placed in either a control group, where they made no dietary changes, or in an experimental group where they eliminated dairy and eggs for eight weeks.
It was found the experimental group experienced a 22% improvement in peak expiratory flow rate—a measure of how fast the children were able to exhale—while children in the control group experienced a 0.6% decrease.
With the increase of vegan dairy alternatives, there are more choices than ever for asthmatics to replace dairy in their diets. There are vegan milks, cheeses, yogurts, ice creams and more that make it enjoyable to consume these foods.
Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are beneficial in a plant based diet as they increase the flavour of foods and provide health benefits as well. Some culinary herbs have particular benefits for asthmatics. These include herbs like ginger, turmeric, garlic and black seed.
These herbs help to reduce inflammation and clear the airways for better breathing.
Asthmatics need to determine which ones help the best with their particular conditions.
As the measures for a plant based diet are put into place, those with asthma can boost their health and lung function.