Small girl inhaling medicineA number of studies show that diet can improve asthma symptoms. Research appearing in the journal, Thorax (2006; 61(12): 1048-53) looked at the diets of 598 Dutch children between the ages of 8 and 13. It found that a diet high in fish and whole grains reduced the risk of asthma. Antioxidants in the diet seem to be especially beneficial in reducing asthma symptoms. A study appeared in the journal, Thorax (2006; 61(5): 388-93) that looked at diet and asthma symptoms in 515 adults with asthma and 515 matched controls without the disease. It found that low intake of fruit, vitamin C and manganese increased the risk for asthma symptoms. Also, low levels of vitamin C in the serum was also associated with asthma.

Just as a good diet can reduce asthma symptoms, a poor diet can make them worse. Research appearing in the European Respiratory Journal (2009; 33:33-41) looked at the diets of 54,672 French women. Researchers found an increased risk of asthma attack associated with following the “Western diet”. Eating processed foods, pizza, and refined foods can increase the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.