Eating a balanced and healthy diet is important for everyone, especially for those that have asthma. An Australian study found asthmatics that eat a poor diet have a higher chance of worsening asthma symptoms than those who eat a healthy diet. The cause is directly tied to the body’s immune system and inflammation.
Australian Poor Diet Research
Researchers, at University of Newcastle (Australia), studied the diets of 99 asthmatics and 61 healthy people. Each study participant's diet was scored as to whether it would cause an increase in inflammation or protect against it.
Dr. Wood, one of the researchers, found the asthmatics taking part in the study had a tendency to eat inflammatory diets when compared to the healthy participants. Researchers learned the body sees high levels of dietary fat and reacts just as it would to an invader; the "invading" fat activates the immune system, stimulating an inflammation response. Researchers in this study determined that a diet high in fat keeps your immune system constantly active and as a result, keeps the inflammation process on every day all day. Even eating a single high-fat meal may cause airway inflammation in asthmatics.
It's important to note that the Australian study on diet and asthma is only one study and one way to interpret the results. The intricate play between diet and inflammation or diet and asthma needs further study. Not enough is known, at this point, to clearly understand all the processes, causes and effects involved that create inflammation in the body.
In recent weeks, other studies have pointed out that saturated fat is actually good for the body. For many years, saturated fat has been labeled as a major culprit in the inflammation process. However, this type of fat can help make the immune system stronger, help the liver to run more effectively, and with repairing tissue and preserve muscle, etc. Healthy saturated fats come from foods such as butter, eggs, coconut oil and grass-fed beef. Saturated fats are high in calories, so limited portions are recommended.
Medical studies are necessary in order to learn how to maintain our health. However, results can be confusing; for example, one week we're told eating eggs is bad for us and then later, we're told eggs are healthy. This type of issue has come up with many foods. What can we do to maintain good health through diet?
Poor Diet vs. Healthy Diet
What makes for a poor diet? A poor diet puts emphasis on overly processed foods, refined sugar and trans fats. A healthy diet is one that is balanced, and can include high caloric meals and snacks--but in moderation. A balanced diet includes fruits and vegetables, some dairy, meat, poultry and fish, only small amounts of foods high in trans fats and sugar.
Along with a balanced diet, exercise is recommended to keep the entire body healthy. Exercise is great for asthma patients, as it does work to make the lungs stronger. In addition, you can more easily maintain a healthy body weight with the right combination of diet and exercise.
The Australian study and other studies have shown that what we eat may effect our asthma. While there is no specific “asthma diet,” eating a balanced diet and adding in exercise can help us feel better overall. Please be sure to check with your doctor before making major changes to your diet, exercise regimen or other aspects of your asthma management plan.
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