Several years ago an important medical discovery was made about asthma---some inflammation is present in the bronchial tubes of people with asthma even when the person feels well and when their breathing is normal. The cause of this chronic inflammation is not known, but the persistent or chronic presence of the inflammation is probably what makes the bronchial tubes capable of narrowing abnormally. There is now an emphasis on the importance of reducing inflammation of the bronchial tubes to control or prevent attacks.
Reducing inflammation is critical because extended inflammation damages tissues, including the lung tissue.
Here are some key nutrients to consider for controlling inflammation:
- Ginger or Turmeric are known for their anti-inflammatory properties so eat up!
- Include Nuts and Seeds (peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds) regularly. They are one of the best sources of Vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from damage.
- Oranges and Grapefruit are loaded with Vitamin C, another potent antioxidant to protect cells from damage. Vitamin C is one of the key antioxidant vitamins abundant in the extracellular fluid lining the lungs.
- Add Spinach to your day to boost your intake of Magnesium. Magnesium’s role in decreasing bronchospasm has been investigated in both acute and chronic asthma.
- Get some sun or take your daily dose of Vitamin D, especially in the winter months. Consider having your vitamin D3 blood levels measured to determine your current Vitamin D status. Your levels should be about 50 nmol/L.
- Take a potent probiotic, such as ProBiota 12. Potent probiotics increase T regulatory cells which are critical in balancing an overactive immune system. These are designed to get at the root of inflammation and quench it.
- Fish are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids limit leukotrienes, which trigger contractions in the smooth muscles lining the bronchioles, which ultimately reduces inflammation.
- Avoiding dairy products and gluten are likely very solid recommendations as they are commonly inflammatory.
- Eliminate environmental triggers and exposures, targeting the air we breathe. Obtain an air purifier for your home, and reduce your exposure to other things such as scented fabrics, chemicals found in carpets, new clothing, dry cleaning, etc. If you are looking for an air purifier to eliminate smells and volatile compounds, consider the T300 or the A375UV Alen Air Purifiers.
Bottom Line: The goal of successful asthma care is to prevent the symptoms of asthma from developing rather than having to relieve them with medications once they occur.
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist