Consumption of Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains Associated With Reduced Asthma Symptoms
Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. A new study suggests that increasing fruit, vegetable, and whole grain consumption and decreasing dairy and saturated fat consumption may help reduce asthma symptoms.
For their study, researchers from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine analyzed the results of over 30 studies pertaining to food consumption and asthma. They found that fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other high-fiber foods may help reduce asthma symptoms. They also found that dairy products and foods high in saturated fats may exacerbate asthma symptoms.
Several of the studies looked at food consumption and asthma symptoms in children. One of them found that children who increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals, and potatoes, and reduced consumption of meat, had a decreased risk of asthma. Another study found that higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with greater lung function in children with asthma. In addition, long-term fruit intake from the ages of 2 to 8 was inversely associated with asthma symptoms and sensitization to inhaled allergens.
The researchers believe that the antioxidants found in plant foods may contribute to reduced airway inflammation and improvements in forced expiratory volume. Forced expiratory volume measures how much air person can exhale during a forced breath. Additionally, the dietary fiber found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has been inversely associated with concurrent wheeze and atopic wheeze in children with asthma.
The study was published online ahead of print on March 13, 2020 in the journal Nutrition Reviews.