Food guidelines summary:
- Eat only when you feel hungry.
- Eat until you feel satisﬁed. Do not continue to eat because there is food left on your plate.
- Eat fruit and vegetables each day.
- Eat spices, curries, ginger, garlic, onions and sea salt.
Foods to limit in quantity are:
- Dairy and products containing dairy ingredients.
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese, Ice cream, cream soups, chocolate. (Please note that chocolate is by far the worst food to eat.)
- High protein foods such as beef, pork, chicken and eggs.
- Stimulants such as coffee, strong teas, alcohol, cocoa, soft ﬁzzy drinks and drinking chocolate.
- Antigens such as citrus fruits, raspberries, strawberries, wheat and nuts.
Mucus producing foods are:
- Dairy produce.
- Animal protein.
- Processed foods such as white ﬂour.
- Coffee and alcoholic beverages.
Vitamin and mineral supplementation is recommended for people with asthma because hyperventilation causes the body to excrete some minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium in order to maintain PH. It is therefore necessary to replenish these because the loss of these minerals leads to further hyperventilation. Asthma causes chronic stress on the body so correct nutrient intake is vital.
The quality of food can be suspect and while a correct diet is a priority, it is also beneﬁcial to supplement it with key minerals and vitamins. It is a fact that the increasing use of pesticides, chemicals on vegetation and feeding of animals with antibiotic and hormone laden food poisons our bodies with increased toxicity.
Magnesium, the Natural Bronchodilator:
Scientists in the early 1950s reported that magnesium was a natural bronchodilator that relaxes smooth muscle and opens constricted airways without any side effects. Nowadays some intravenous magnesium sulphate is used as a partial treat- ment for attacks at a number of clinics in the U.S.
The typical Western world processed diet contains very low levels of magnesium. A deﬁciency of magnesium will further perpetuate hyperventilation. Another reason for magnesium deﬁciency is intense farming practices. Mineral levels have fallen over the past ﬁfty years due to continued harvesting. Only nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium are replaced in order to produce higher yields. My experience of taking magnesium either in diet or supplement has been very helpful in reducing hyperventilation and increasing my control pause.
I spoke with a number of people who test mineral and vitamin levels among their patients and all concluded that magnesium was very low in most asthmatics. Magnesium also helps to stabilise the Mast cell producing anti- inﬂammatory effects. One Nottingham study has shown a relationship between increased peak ﬂow readings and magnesium intake. This also correlated with decreased airway reactivity to methacholine challenge. Another study points to a possible role for magnesium because of its bronchodilating effect in the treatment of asthma. Magnesium can be purchased in most health stores. The best form is liquid because it’s absorbed better by the body, but magnesium tablets in chalk form are very beneﬁcial. Personally, I use a magnesium, calcium and zinc combination.
Natural sources of magnesium include sea salt, kelp, sunﬂower seeds, spinach, avocado, barley, almonds, Brazil nuts, oysters, sunﬂower seeds, whole grains, beans and dark leafy vegetables. Supplement magnesium according to recommended daily amounts (RDA) as stated by manufacturers.
Vitamin B5, commonly known as Pantothenic acid:
Pantothenic acid stimulates the adrenals and is involved in the production of cortisone. Allergies, adrenal exhaustion or upper respiratory infections are often a sign of B5 deﬁciency because the adrenals become weak and compromised. Other beneﬁts from vitamin B5 include reducing the toxic effects from antibiotics. Good sources include corn, eggs, heart, kidney, legumes, lentils, liver, lobster, molasses, peanuts, peas, rice, soybeans, sunﬂower seeds, vegetables, wheat germ, and whole grain cereals.
Omega-3 fatty acids:
Omega-3 fatty acids are a natural anti-inﬂammatory that quiet down key inﬂammatory cells such as neutrophils and prostaglandin. Essential fatty acids, when taken over time, work like cortisone without the side effects. There have been mixed results in studies of Omega-3 and this seems to be related to the length of the study, with longer trials produc- ing more conclusive results.
The time frame to take Omega-3 is for a minimum of ten weeks to reduce inﬂammation. Flaxseed oil, hemp oil or Evening Primrose oil are good forms of Omega-3 and are recommended more than ﬁsh oil due to the high mercury content of the seas. Massaging hemp oil into areas of the skin affected by eczema offers substantial relief. One word of caution: people who are sensitive to aspirin may experience an increase of asthma symptoms. If you do notice a deterioration, stop taking Omega-3 immediately.
The list of vitamins and minerals above are those I ﬁnd, from available research, to be the most effective. Magnesium is a natural bronchodilator, Panthothenic acid helps rebuild the adrenals and Omega-3 is a natural anti-inﬂammatory. There is an exhaustive list of vitamins and minerals recom- mended for asthma and it would not be beneﬁcial or practical to take them all. If you only wish to take one of these then I recommend magnesium. I also suggest that you have echinacea on standby should the need ever arise. Multivitamins are very helpful but the levels are too low to be of any beneﬁt. Speak to someone who is knowledgeable at your health store to seek further information regarding supplements for children and what products are available.
Water makes up over seventy per cent of your body and it’s the single most important constituent of your diet. You consume water directly by drinking it and indirectly from your diet. You lose water each day through perspiration, breathing, and elimination of waste. It is vital therefore to replenish this water loss because dehydration causes an increase of histamine levels, causing inﬂammation and swelling of the airway walls. To help reduce water loss breathe only through your nose. On average we take eighteen thousand breaths over a twenty-four hour period, with this ﬁgure increasing substan- tially for a person with asthma. One of the functions of your nose is to trap moisture carried in the air on the out breath.
The second step is to reduce the group of drinks containing caffeine and alcohol. These drinks are diuretics and, while they contain water, they promote dehydration because the kidneys ﬂush out additional water. More water leaves the body than is contained in the drink, yet many people believe that tea is a good source of water. Unfortunately it isn’t and if you feel unable to reduce your tea consumption, then increase your pure water intake to counteract this loss. The third step is to eat a diet high in water content. People who live on a water-rich diet of fruit and vegetables are free from obesity and illness and often live well in excess of one hundred years. A water-rich diet is the secret to better health and longevity.The amount of water you need depends on the type of lifestyle you lead. A person who is involved in physical activity will have a greater requirement. Likewise, it is dependent on the type of diet. If you eat a water-rich diet then the requirement to drink water is reduced.
In the medical world, there are mixed beliefs about whether thirst alone is a good indicator of the need for water. Nutritional experts suggest a daily water intake of six to eight glasses. Using this as a guide, and taking into account your individual lifestyle and diet, you can estimate individual requirements. If your lifestyle is to drink ten cups of tea a day and eat a processed food diet, then you are chronically dehydrated.
With asthma, the key point to remember is that the need for water is increased because dehydration leads to hista- mine production and thickened mucus. A quarter to a half- teaspoon of sea salt dissolved in warm water serves as a natural antihistamine, thins out mucus and can, in as little as ﬁfteen minutes, reduce asthma symptoms. To keep your body well hydrated, adults should drink about eight glasses of water per day and make a conscious effort to maintain consistent intake. Everyone needs water to regulate body temperature, aid respiration, transport nutrients, aid elimination of waste, provide lubrication, and give tissues their structure.