A diet rich in fruits and vegetables throughout the year, keeps your heart healthy, prevents several diseases such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes, keeps your immune system strong, and now, it adds the benefit they provide to your respiratory system: The nutrients in these foods can help reduce chronic diseases such as asthma.
A French investigation of the Research Team of Nutritional Epidemiology of Inserm-Inra in Paris, adds another reason why to add fruits and vegetables to your diet: the prevention of asthma.
For this study, 35,000 French adults were surveyed about the number of asthma symptoms they had experienced during the previous year. Approximately a quarter of the participants had experienced at least one symptom.
Participants were also asked about their eating habits. Diets rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains were rated as the healthiest, while those with lots of meat, salt and sugar were the least healthy.
After adjusting for other factors related to asthma, such as smoking and exercise, the researchers found that diets rich in fruits and vegetables were linked to a 30% lower risk of developing symptoms of asthma in men and 20% less risk for women.
Among participants who already had asthma, healthy eating was associated with a 60% lower risk of “poorly controlled” symptoms in men and a 27% lower risk in women, according to the researchers.
The study was published on July 12 in the European Respiratory Journal.
“Our results strongly encourage the promotion of healthy diets to prevent asthma symptoms and control the disease,” the researchers said in a press release.
How do foods influence asthma?
According to scientists, the components of the diet such as fruit, vegetables and fiber “have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are elements of a healthy diet that can reduce symptoms”.
On the other hand, sugar, meat and salt are elements with proinflammatory capabilities that can worsen asthma symptoms, they explained.
“The health benefits of a diet rich in plant foods and unprocessed foods are already well known,” said Dr. Ann Tilley, a pulmonologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not involved in the new study.
A chronic disease
Asthma affects many people and all ages, but usually begins during childhood. In the United States there are more than 25 million people with proven asthma. Of these people, about 7 million are children.
It is a chronic disease of the lungs that inflames and narrows the airways. Chronic diseases are diseases that last a long time.
Asthma causes repeated periods of wheezing (wheezing when breathing), chest pressure, shortness of breath and cough. Episodes often occur at night or in the early morning hours, as reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).