According to statistics, 20 million Americans suffer from asthma and 11 die from the disease each day. Although there is no cure, there are medicines that can help alleviate and subdue the symptoms—most of which are designed to open up the air passage ways. But did you know that there are also foods that if consumed on a regular basis can help you breathe better as well? Continue reading below to discover the top foods known to fight asthma and other respiratory diseases.
(Disclaimer: Although research shows that these following foods can help fight asthma, do not replace your prescribed medication with these foods. Always follow instructions from your practitioner).
Researchers suggest that grapes, including grape products like wine, can help alleviate respiratory problems associated with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder such as coughing and wheezing. This is because red grape skins are not only high in fiber but also high in resveratrol –two agents that work to reduce inflammation in the lungs and removes mucus and phlegm from airways. Other foods that are both high in fiber and resveratrol include apples, kiwi and peanut butter.
Chili peppers of all varieties can help asthma suffers in more ways than one. The first is because chili peppers contain capsaicin. This is what gives peppers it’s heat. But capsaicin also works to block “substance P,” a neuropeptide that is typically associated with inflammation— the same kind of inflammation that occurs within one’s breathing tubes. The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin is contains and thus the more inflammation-fighting power it possesses. Aim to add habañeros, cayenne pepper and jalapeños into your next meal to reap the most benefits. In addition, chili peppers are high in vitamin A which is needed to keep all of your epithelial tissues healthy, including the respiratory, gastrointestinal and reproductive tracts.
Lastly, if you are suffering from a severe asthma attack and do not have your medication on hand, a steaming cup of black coffee might just be able to save your life. This is because according to studies when coffee is consumed and digested it creates small amounts of theophylline—a chemical that is often used in most asthma medications to soothe wheezing and breathing complications. Although the asthma fighting benefits of coffee is only temporary, studies also show that regular coffee drinkers are able to control their asthma more than non-coffee drinkers. Not a fan of coffee? A strong tea may just be able to do the trick as well.
Foods to avoid: dairy products such as milk, cheese and butter which cause mucus to form in the body.