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Link between Asthma and Diet

Updated at: Mar 30, 2012
Written by: Gunjan RastogiPublished at: Mar 28, 2012
Link between Asthma and Diet

Treatment of asthma does not include any particular diet, but a diet rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids and nuts can relieve asthma symptoms.

There is no special diet for asthma. Some foods such as those rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the inflammation of the airways, but no particular food can completely cure asthma. A beverage containing caffeine  also provides with a little relief from bronchodilation for few hours, but using an asthma inhaler at the time of an asthma attack is a better and an effective way of getting temporary relief. A well-balanced nutritional diet, however, is essential for asthma treatment. Asthmatics should also keep monitoring the fatty content of their food as obesity can severe asthma.


The studies have shown that less or no consumption of fruits and vegetables also triggers asthma attacks. The diet of an asthmatic must be rich in vitamin A, C and E, flavonoids, magnesium, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids.  Asthmatics must incorporate an adequate amount of garlic and onion in their daily diet. Garlic and onion contain substances with powerful antioxidant activities that help in the removal of free radicals that lead to asthma. Asthma sufferers must also keep a check on their salt intake the excess quantity of which can worsen their situation. Use of natural spices such as basil (tulsi), fenugreek (methi), sage, coriander (dhaniya) and oregano is advisable for relieving asthma symptoms; these spices also add more flavour and taste to the meals. Most of these spices contain rosemarinic acid, which has antioxidant abilities to neutralise the free radicals and blocks the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals such as leukotrienes.


Foods to Avoid In Asthma

The following foods should not be incorporated by asthmatics in their diet as these can worsen their condition, thereby triggering asthma attacks:

  • Processed or Packaged Foods – these foods possess a great risk for asthmatics as they are high on calories and contain rich additives, omega-6 fatty oil and artificial flavouring.  Frequent consumption of packaged food can hamper asthma treatment as they are capable of inducing allergic reaction.
  • Dairy products – for the benefit of asthma sufferers, they must  avoid dairy products as these can trigger an attack. Dairy items such as ice cream, yoghurt, cheese and full cream milk should be completely forbidden. Coughing and bouts of sneezing are common complications caused by dairy products in asthmatics.
  • Phlegm causing foods – These include banana, papaya, rice, sugar and curd. Some indigestible foods such as coffee, strong tea, sauces, eggs and alcoholic beverages can also lead to an asthma attack.


Mediterranean diet is an appropriate diet for asthma sufferers. This diet consists of increased intake of fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and unsaturated fatty acids. Patients strictly adhering to the Mediterranean diet have been found to get hold of better control on asthma symptoms. They have a decreased indication of asthma related allergies, which shows that asthmatic’s diet has a direct impact on his/her asthmatic symptoms and condition. For a proper diet for curing asthma, one should consult a dietician.


Read more articles on Understand Asthma.






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