When you can’t breathe properly, anxiety immediately kicks in. Your body knows it can’t survive long without oxygen, so it sets off all kinds of alarms. Luckily, for most of us, this kind of situation rarely or never happens. But for those who have asthma, such attacks can be a constant threat. Since it’s not easy to tell when and why an asthma attack is going to happen, avoiding them can be almost impossible.
But there’s some positive news for those with breathing troubles: eating a delicious Italian-style diet could help stave off your symptoms. Researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand recently noted that there’s a rapidly increasing number of asthma cases occurring in developed countries like the U.S. and Canada. A lot of research has attributed this epidemic rise in asthma to environmental causes. In an effort to help with the situation, the research team examined several possible treatments for asthma attacks.
Of them, they found that the same kind of Mediterranean diet that is so effective in preventing cardiovascular disease also has anti-inflammatory properties. This is the type of diet that is heavy on fruits, vegetables, and olive oil, with moderate consumption of dairy products, fish, poultry, and red wine. Since asthma is an inflammatory disease, the researchers wanted to find out if eating a Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk for attacks.
They devised a 12-week trial and recruited 38 adults with asthma. Each adult was assigned to a high-intervention (HI), low-intervention (LI) or control group. The first two groups were encouraged to adopt a Mediterranean diet and received multiple consultation sessions with a nutritionist, written advice, and vouchers for the purchase of appropriate foods. Food frequency questionnaires, asthma control questionnaires, asthma-related quality of life questionnaires, and spirometry (a test that measures lung function) were completed at the beginning and at the end of the study.
The researchers found small but consistent improvements in quality of life and spirometry results among the intervention group. They concluded that the use of the Mediterranean diet to treat asthma is useful and warrants further study.
Since a Mediterranean diet helps overall health in a number of ways, it is an excellent choice to boost anyone’s well-being, whether or not they have asthma.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
The Diet Change That Could Help Prevent Asthma Attacks
Sexton, P., et al., “Influence of Mediterranean Diet on Asthma Symptoms, Lung Function, and Systemic Inflammation: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” J. Asthma, November 16, 2012.