Asthma

Over the past three decades the number of people with asthma has increased significantly and diet may be to blame. Studies show a correlation between poor diet and asthma. People are eating more processed, unnatural foods and fewer things that are good for them. People who eat healthy nutritious foods develop asthma less often than people who eat poorly. Although few doctors acknowledge the link between asthma and diet, it does exist. Certain foods and nutrients appear to be effective in the prevention and treatment for asthma.

Diet modifications are a reasonable option for people wondering how to treat asthma naturally. Research shows that people who consume large amounts of antioxidants and other nutrients including flavonoids, omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and magnesium have lower rates of asthma. Antioxidants are likely a large factor in the reduced asthma rates because they neutralize harmful free radicals and thus protect cells from damage.

Studies show that children and teenagers who eat diets high in fruits and omega-3 fatty acids generally have strong lungs and few asthma-like symptoms. Conversely, people who get low amounts of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E and omega-3s have high rates of poor lung function. The Mediterranean diet shows promise for the prevention and management of asthma. The Mediterranean diet promotes fruits, vegetables and nuts. These foods are high in antioxidants and vitamins.

Diet and asthma may seem like a strange correlation. Asthma has to do with constriction of the bronchial tubes that pass through the lungs, not the digestive system. Inflammation of the airways and mucus production contribute to asthma, which is why anti-inflammatory medications are a large part of conventional asthma treatment. However, foods can decrease inflammation too. Turmeric and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties.

Andrew Weil, PhD, recommends that people with asthma eliminate milk products, animal protein and fried foods from their diets. He also says to stay away from polyunsaturated vegetable oils and partially hydrogenated oils.

More asthma guidelines for diet include increasing omega-3 intake, relying on extra-virgin olive oil as a main source of fat and consuming organic fruits and vegetables daily. Apples, carrots, leafy vegetables and tomatoes have all demonstrated beneficial effects for preventing asthma in studies.

Drinking a lot of water to keep respiratory tract secretions more fluid is important too. The Mayo Clinic suggests that women in general have at least 9 cups of water daily and that men drink 13 cups.

Butterbur root extract decreased the severity, frequency and duration of asthma attacks in a study involving 80 patients. The study took place over the course of four months and by the end, more than 40 percent of participants who were taking asthma medication were able to decrease usage.
A tincture of three parts lobelia to one part cayenne pepper mixed in water and taken at the first signs of impending asthma attacks can help stop attacks before they start.

Food allergies can contribute to asthma. Sugar, soy, corn and gluten are common foods that cause allergies. Abstaining from eating these foods for eight weeks to see if symptoms improve can indicate a problem.

~Sarka-Jonae Miller, naturalnews.com, June 17 2012


Nuts About Pregnancy

Could eating more peanuts and tree nuts during pregnancy actually reduce a child's risk of developing nut and other allergies? A new study out of Denmark suggests so, having found that expectant mothers who continue to eat nuts during their pregnancies produce children with fewer overall allergies compared to children born of mothers who follow outdated recommendations that advise against nut consumption during pregnancy.

For their study, which was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Ekaterina Maslova and her colleagues from the Centre for Foetal Programming at the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen evaluated nearly 62,000 Danish moms via a survey who gave birth between 1996 and 2002. The researchers also evaluated the medical records of the mothers' children from 18 months through seven years of age.

After comparing nut consumption patterns among mothers to allergy rates in their children, Maslova and her team discovered that nut consumption rates correspond with allergy rates, and mothers who eat more nuts have children that are less prone to allergies. After accounting for various outside factors, the team determined that children born to mothers who eat nuts are 21 percent less likely to develop asthma -- and when children reach seven years of age, the decrease in allergy likelihood drops to 34 percent.

Mothers who ate tree nuts more than once a week also bore 18-month-olds that were 25 percent less likely to have asthma or to experience wheezing compared to other children. Overall, allergy rates were noticeably lower among children whose mothers eat nuts, compared to children whose mothers either ate fewer nuts, or completely abstained from eating nuts, during their pregnancies.

"There's some mixed data out there and this current study is showing that maybe there might be a benefit to your child in having less asthma later on if you continue to just eat the way you're still eating and not avoid (nuts)," says Dr. Todd Mahr, a paediatric allergist from Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, Wisc., who was not involved in the study.

The findings contradict an earlier study presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in New Orleans that appeared to show link between nut consumption and higher allergy rates. That particular study however, included nuts, eggs, and milk in its analysis, a research flaw that appears to have inaccurately pinned nuts as the culprit without assessing their effect on allergies separately from eggs and milk.

~Ethan A. Huff, naturalnews.com, July 30 2012

Recipe of the Month

Nutmeat

1½ c toasted peanuts
½ c cornflour

½ c soy flour
3 c water

2 tsp salt

Blend all ingredients together. Bake covered for 1½ hrs at 150° C. Slice when cold. Serve on sandwiches. Good cubed and mixed with rice and gravy.