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Just Breathe

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Asthma, an inflammatory condition of the lungs, is one of the most common allergy-triggered immune problems of our era. Truth be told, there are approximately 25 million Americans who are affected by asthma, which can make it difficult for those folks just to catch their breath. Fortunately, there are some foods—and a simple beverage—that can help to combat asthma naturally, including:

Chia Seeds: These tiny but mighty seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, quercetin, and magnesium and are great foods for fighting asthma. The omega-3s help support healthy inflammation in children and in adults and also support healthy cell membranes. As a matter of fact, a long-term study indicates that omega-3s can significantly reduce asthma symptoms, particularly in people who are plagued with allergy-related asthma. Quercetin, a flavanol compound, has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties, while magnesium helps to balance out levels in the body, since many asthma sufferers also come up short on magnesium.

Spinach: Greens have amazing health benefits overall, but this green (in high amounts)—spinach—was found in a study of 68,535 female participants to be directly tied to a lowered risk of asthma. It’s believed that the high vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, magnesium and potassium content are the reasons why this green is so effective against asthma.

Kale: As another mighty green, kale has the ability to block free radicals that cause contractions of the smooth muscles in airway passages, which, of course, frees up breathing. Likewise, kale is high in beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant that soothes asthma symptoms and reduces the likelihood of future asthma symptoms.

Avocado:  The amazing avocado is a fruit containing some of the highest concentrations of L-glutathione, known as the “master antioxidant” which allows all other antioxidants to function. The L-glutathione in avocados supports healthy inflammation and also supports gut health, both of which can help prevent asthma triggers. Due to its high antioxidant value, the avocado helps protect cells against free radical damage and detoxifies the body of pollutants and other toxins.

Bananas: Going bananas can help you avoid asthma—at least, that’s what a 2011 study indicates. Researchers at the Imperial College of London discovered that children who eat just one banana a day can reduce their risk of developing asthmatic symptoms, such as wheezing, by about 34 percent.

Apples: There really might be something to the “apple a day” advice—or at least four apples a week. Apples are also high in quercetin and are protective against the throes of asthma. One study in Europe found that pregnant women who ate at least four apples weekly were 53 percent less likely to have a child with asthma. Likewise, the same study that found that bananas were beneficial against asthma also cited that children who drink apple juice are about 50 percent less likely to get asthma symptoms.

Ginger: Ginger root has a body-wide, anti-inflammatory effect and has been touted as working better than over-the-counter antihistamines at clearing up airways and halting inflammation. That’s not all, though. Ginger doesn’t have any harmful side effects, so you can liberally add it to your everyday foods and beverages.

Turmeric: Turmeric is terrific for battling inflammation and swelling in the lungs which lead to constricting breathing passages during an asthma episode. Turmeric is, in fact, one of the most powerful anti-inflammatories around, and it can dilate blood vessels and relax muscles to fight off asthma attacks.

Elderberry: Packed with quercetin, elderberry serves as an incredible immune booster, including supporting respiratory health. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that the quercetin component of elderberry effectively blocks the release of histamines and other allergic and inflammatory chemicals in the body, including those having to do with asthma.

Water: It may sound like a simple fix, but getting enough pure water is essential, since, for many people with asthma, dehydration is the root cause of their asthma symptoms. In fact, Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, a foremost authority on the body’s need for water, says that the symptoms masquerading as asthma are actually your body crying out for more clean water. So, stay well hydrated—especially during warm-weather months and during exercise.

There you have it—foods (and a beverage) that can help you breathe easier.


This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

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