Asthma causes the airways in our esophagus to be highly sensitive and prone to closing over. Many things can cause this effect and these are known as ‘asthma triggers’. If you come into contact with these you might find your airways tightening up, becoming swollen, or producing too much mucus which will cause wheezing and make it difficult to breathe.
Identifying your asthma triggers and being able to avoid them is one of the most important ways to manage asthma and prevent an attack. Because these vary between different people however it can be hard to tell precisely what is aggravating your asthma, meaning that it is useful to use a food diary and to monitor your precise intake of food along with your health. If you notice any correlations then you know what you need to cut down on.
While this process can help you to identify your particular asthma triggers, it can be a lengthy process if you don’t have a good starting point. Thankfully we can narrow this down however by looking at those foods which are commonly associated with asthma. Here are a few:
Foods Containing Sulfiting Agents
Sulfites are salts of sulfurous acid containing the ion SO. These are added to wine, dried fruits, bottled lemon juice and some fruit juices in order to prevent oxidation and spoilage.
Many common allergens are also likely to cause asthma and these include milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, shellfish and fish. Particularly of course if you are aware of any allergens it is a good idea to avoid these (however food allergies only contribute to around 5% or less of asthma cases).
The hairs on some fruits can trigger the effects of asthma and are easily avoided.
Binding foods such as bananas and rice can potentially trigger asthma attacks, as might those foods which are high in starch. If you find difficulty in chewing and swallowing then these might contribute.
In extreme cases patients may be admitted to hospital where they will undergo an ‘exclusion diet’. This is a diet designed to be low in everything, in order to see if the symptoms subside. If this is found to be effective, foods will then gradually be re-introduced into the diet to see which are safe and which are responsible for aggravating the condition. It is important not to attempt an exclusion diet on your own however as it requires the guidance of an experienced dietician. For use at home a food diary and careful observation can help you to pinpoint ‘problem’ foods.