If you are like many moms whose kids have asthma, you probably wonder what kind of lifestyle changes you can make to help manage this condition. The good news? While there is no specific “asthma diet", there are several important ways that you can use nutrition as a tool to help keep your child's asthma in check.
Decrease Processed Food and Increase Fruits and Vegetables
One of the most important steps that parents can take when it comes to making their child's diet more asthma-friendly is to decrease the amount of processed foods while increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in their child's diet. Healthline notes that some medical professionals have linked the modern diet (with its dependence on processed foods and lack of fresh fruits and veggies) to a rise in asthma in recent decades.
The site notes that there are several studies which have linked fresh fruits and veggies to an improved asthma condition. In one study, asthma patients who had a diet high in beta-carotene (found in foods like carrots, cantaloupes, yams, and leafy green vegetables) had a higher quality of life than those who consumed less of these foods. Another study found that bananas might be able to help decrease wheezing in asthmatic children.
Diet for Weight Loss if Child is Obese
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), around 17% of children in America are obese. And Healthline notes that according to the American Thoracic Society, obesity is a major risk factor for developing asthma. WebMD agrees, noting that diets high in calories can lead to weight gain and obese children are more likely to develop asthma, more likely to have it more severely, and more likely to take more medications to help control it.
If your child is overweight or obese, get with your doctor to develop a healthy eating program to help reduce calories to achieve a healthier weight. Fortunately, cutting out processed foods and adding more fresh fruits and veggies is one good way to do this!
Be Mindful of Food Allergies and Sensitivities
When parents think about the relationship between allergies and asthma, it is usually environmental allergies such as to dust, mold, or pollen that come to mind. However, food allergies --- the most common being peanuts, shellfish, eggs, and milk – can also trigger asthma attacks. Even food sensitivities which are much more common but also harder to diagnose, can increase the risk of an asthma exacerbation.
Beyond using these diet tips to possibly helping control your child's asthma, it is simply a healthy diet to adopt, which is always a good idea. Often times with asthma, there are a lot of things outside your control. However, taking control of diet can give both moms and kids a sense of empowerment when it comes to day-to-day management of this condition.