If you are the parent or caretaker of a child with asthma, chances are you are willing to try anything (within reason) that may help to alleviate suffering. Although there is no specific one-size-fits-all solution for anyone with asthma, there are steps you can take that may help to prevent problems and make symptoms less severe.
Eating Nuts, Fish and Avocado Cuts Risk in Children
According to a recent study, you may want to incorporate certain foods into your child’s diet if he or she suffers from asthma.
New research from Karolinska Institutet, located in Solna, Sweden, suggests that high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids found in children’s blood are associated with a reduced risk of developing asthma or rhinitis by the age of 16 years.
This present study, conducted as part of the Swedish birth cohort BAMS, is the largest to date, testing samples from 940 children. The purpose of the study was to investigate an association between levels of omega-6 fatty acids and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in the blood and any related development of asthma and other allergies.
The study suggested that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids also play an important role in our bodies, along with polyunsaturated fatty acids. Unfortunately, the body is unable to produce these fatty acids itself, so they must be sourced from foods like certain vegetable oils, nuts and fish.
Lead study author, Dr. Anna Bergstrom, stated, “Since allergies often debut during childhood, it is of particular interest to study if children’s environment and lifestyle affect the development of these diseases.”
Dr. Bergstrom also added, “These new results and those of a previous study we carried out support the current dietary guidelines to eat fish two to three times a week and to vary between oily and lean fish.”
Researchers in Spain discovered in another study that eating habits of both expectant mothers and their respective offspring affected allergic reactions and wheeze. The study documented the progress of 232 boys and 228 girls from the womb to age six-and-a-half with a wide range of social, dietary and health factors. In this study, children who consumed more than 60 grams (2.12 oz.) of fish and 40 grams (1.41 oz.) of “fruity” vegetables (like aubergines and tomatoes) each day were found to face a lower likelihood of suffering from allergies and asthma.
The results of the study showed that nine percent of the children suffered from some degree of wheezing with approximately six percent who experienced allergy-related asthma. Seventeen percent displayed a reaction to at least one of the allergens in a skin prick test. However, children who consumed diets high in fish and “fruity” vegetables were less likely to suffer.
Dr. Leda Chatzi, from the department of Social Medicine at the University of Crete and author of the report, said “After adjusting the results for a wide range of variables, we concluded that the link between symptom-free children and a diet rich in fruity vegetables and fish was statistically significant.
“The biological mechanisms that underlie the protective effect of these foods is not fully understood, but we believe that the fruity vegetables and fish reduce the inflammation associated with asthma and allergies.”
Along with “fruity” vegetables, other fruits and vegetables are also beneficial as they contain plenty of antioxidants like beta carotene and vitamins C and E, each which can help to reduce irritation and swelling caused by cell-damaging free radicals.
The risk of being sensitized to certain foods is higher in asthmatic patients. Considering this, you may want to avoid allergy-triggering foods such as eggs, peanuts, soy and dairy with your child.
Along with eating a healthy diet, living a healthy lifestyle and eating to maintain a healthy weight can make a drastic difference over the long term in asthmatic patients.
There is no simple fix for individuals with asthma, but making wise food and lifestyle choices may be the ticket to better overall health and improved symptoms.