Eat Right To Avoid Asthma: Foods To Avoid To Reduce Asthma Symptoms

Asthma is a common respiratory disease that affects approximately 14 million adults and 6 million children in the United States. It is a serious condition that keeps people from enjoying their lives, whether at work or play, and can sometimes result in death, particularly in children. Like heart disease and diabetes, asthma is a chronic condition that cannot be cured; however, it can be treated and managed. One important management tool is diet.

Asthma triggers

People with asthma are over-sensitive to things that other people aren't bothered by. Irritants can be different for each individual. These irritants are called triggers. Asthma attacks can be triggered by many different sources, including:
  • Allergens
  • Dust mites
  • Air pollution
  • Respiratory infections and colds
  • Exercise
  • Cold air
  • Medication
  • Strong emotion
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Asthma sufferers can reduce the frequency of attacks by identifying and avoiding irritants. By modifying their diet and eating right, they can manage symptoms caused by food allergies and GERD.

Food allergies

When an asthma attack is caused by allergens, the culprit is usually dust, molds, pollen and animals. But sometimes food allergies can also cause asthma. Some foods to avoid to reduce asthma symptoms:
  • Nuts
  • Soy
  • Shellfish and fish
  • Wheat
  • Sulfites
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
These are the are some of the most common foods that cause allergies. But it is possible to be allergic to other foods too.


Sulfites are used as a preservative in foods such as:
  • Bottled lime or lemon juice
  • Dried fruits or vegetables
  • Wine, beer
  • Pickled foods
  • Shrimp
  • Processed foods
If you want to avoid sulfites, look for potassium bisulfite, sodium sulfite, sulfur dioxide, sodium metabisulfite, sodium bisulfate and potassium metabisulfite on the food label.


People suffering from asthma may also want to avoid salt. Scientists have observed since the 1930s that a high-salt diet worsened asthma symptoms in children. Researchers at Indian University studied the phenomenon and found that exercise-induced asthma sufferers who ate a low-salt diet can exhale more air, and need bronchiodiolator drugs less often, than those on a high-salt diet. More than 75 percent of the salt eaten by Americans comes from processed food, and processed foods are also a source of sulfites. For this reason, asthma sufferers should avoid processed foods.


A healthy, allergen-free diet is an important part of asthma management. The right diet not only minimizes allergy symptoms, but can prevent Gastroesophageal reflux disease as well. GERD causes heartburn and other unpleasant symptoms. It is caused by a weakened valve in the esophagus that allows bile or stomach acid to flow up the esophagus. GERD can be prevented by avoiding:
  • Smoking
  • Certain foods, such as chocolate, carbonated beverages, fatty foods, caffeine, tomato sauce, mint, spicy foods and onions
  • Large meals
  • Alcohol
When Gastroesophageal reflux disease cannot be relieved by diet alone, patients should talk with their doctor to get the proper medication. By eating right and avoiding food allergens, salt and other general irritants, as well as the foods and behaviors that cause GERD, asthma sufferers can begin to manage their symptoms and lead healthier, more productive lives.


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