Most asthmatics are not aware that their diet can also be contributing to this disease. Certain foods & food additives increase inflammatory processes within the body resulting in excessive levels of a substance called leukotrienes.
Asthma is unfortunately becoming an increasingly common disorder. It is characterised by hypersensitivity of the airways resulting in bronchoconstriction. We all know that it is an allergic disorder and certainly asthmatic sufferers and their families are well aware of the common triggers for asthma such as dust mites, animal dander, pollens, grasses, moulds, exercise, pollution, cigarette smoke, cold air and drugs such as aspirin. These are 1000 times more potent in promoting inflammation and bronchial constriction than histamine another inflammatory regulator. Other foods are actually anti-inflammatory.
Naturopathic treatment therefore focuses on decreasing the production of inflammatory foods and promoting anti-inflammatory pathways.
How do we go about this?
- Decrease foods high in arachidonic acid as this leads to inflammation. Arachidonic acid is found mainly in animal products.
- Avoid food additives especially tartrazine E 102 a yellow food dye and related compounds E103-E155 excluding E 120, 140141, 150, 153 and including E180.Tartrazine promotes leukotrienes.
- Benzoates E 210-219 are commonly used food preservatives in processed foods and some fish.
- Sulphur dioxide, in particular sulphites E220- 227. These are common food preservatives. Sulphites have been shown to induce asthma. Sulphites are used in red wine and preserved fruit such as sultanas, dried apricots etc. Moulds. There is a mould on peanuts and peanut butter called aflatoxin that should be avoided at all costs. Try other nut butters such as cashew butter or tahina.
- Decrease food allergens. Immediate onset sensitivities are usually due to egg, fish, shellfish, nuts and peanuts. Delayed onset sensitivities are usually due to milk, chocolate, wheat, citrus and food colourings. Asthmatics should be on a Low Reactive Diet.
- Avoid foods high in salicylates. It is well known that asthmatics are can be sensitive to aspirin and related ibuprofen; medication can induce wheezing in a few hours. Did you know however that certain foods are high in salicylates and can also induce asthma? Ie. Oranges and apples.
Supplements for asthma
* Omega 3 essential fatty acids - Decreases inflammation.
* Vitamin B6 - Reduces frequency and severity of wheezing and asthmatic attacks.
* Vitamin B12 – Decreases shortness of breath on exertion.
* Vitamin A – Maintains the integrity of the epithelial lining of the respiratory tract and increases resistance to infection.
* Vitamin C, E Bioflavonoids – antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
* Magnesium – Relaxes smooth muscle and reduces bronchial hypersensitivity.
- Lower Respiratory Tract Infections
This tincture contains a blend of natural expectorant herbs combined with lung tonics, immune stimulants and natural bronchodilators, which alleviate breathing where there is shortness of breath. The tincture can treat everything from upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold, sinusitis tonsillitis, otitis media, pharyngitis and laryngitis and lower respiratory tract infections including pneumonia, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis and can alleviate the symptoms of cystic fibrosis. The tincture will alleviate shortness of breath or dyspnoea, cough with or without the production of sputum, coughing blood (haemoptysis), chest pain, noisy breathing, either wheeze, loss of appetite, weight loss, cachexia and cyanosis (a bluish discoloration of the lips, tongue or fingers). It has a pleasant taste and can be tolerated by children. It is safe to use in conjunction with asthma preventors and relievers. In fact over time, use of the tincture will decrease the need for these medications. Medications will need to be adjusted accordingly.
Carina Harkin BHSc.Nat.BHSc.Hom.BHSc.Acu.
Cert IV TAE.