Let’s cut to the chase: I believe that a healthy diet for asthma is one of the best ways you can manage your symptoms.
And while there’s no universally accepted diet for asthma, any diet filled with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and vegetables is going to be good for your whole body – including your lungs.
Home remedies for asthma and alternative treatments for asthma are important, but only when coupled with a healthy lifestyle.
Eating right, exercising regularly, and reducing stress are the best things you can do to breathe better – plain and simple. If you’re not taking care of your health, you’re not taking care of your asthma.
(For all the specific steps I took to wean myself off my medication, see here).
Thankfully, there’s lots of research we can use to start eating (and therefore breathing) better.
So is there a best diet for asthma?
Looks like there might be!
The ‘Mediterranean diet‘ is already quite popular among health fanatics. It’s proven to be quite heart-healthy, and new promising studies are showing that it might be quite lung-healthy too.
For example, this study in 2013 found that adults who switched to the Mediterranean diet saw improved quality of life and better breathing.
So what exactly is the Mediterranean diet? It’s basically just a ‘good food’ diet – lots of fruits and vegetables, lots of fish and whole grains, not much unhealthy fat and plenty of olive oil, with maybe a little red wine on the side.
If that makes up a good diet for asthma, it’s one we can get behind!
(Follow my ‘Healthy Eating for Asthma’ Pinterest Board for some great Mediterranean recipes!).
On top of that, there are some specific foods that have been shown to be helpful in treating and relieving asthma symptoms.
These 3 ‘asthma superfoods’ outlined below are also, thankfully, quite tasty, so try adding them to your diet as much as possible if you want to manage your asthma symptoms.
1. Honey for Asthma
Honey is proof that Mother Nature loves us – how can something so tasty be so nutrient dense and good for us?
Moreover, this study from 2017 says that honey has been shown to reduce asthma-related symptoms and act as a preventative agent – hello!
I use it to treat my asthma because it’s very soothing on my throat, and it helps suppress coughing.
I sometimes find it helpful to take a teaspoon before bed, I usually add it to my smoothies, and I often add it to my favorite asthma tea, too.
I like to get local honey when I can (because some people suggest local honey helps fight allergies), but I also use a lot of honey, so sometimes I need to stock up. When I do, I go for this Nature Nate’s raw and unfiltered honey, which is really well reviewed on Amazon.
(And if you’re considering trying out some honey, please consider using our Amazon links, as this helps us keep providing free asthma-fighting tips, at no extra charge to you!).
Ginger’s another tasty food that’s starting to get some good asthma-related press.
Check one, it’s a decongestant, and check two, it’s high in antioxidants – those alone would make this a great thing to add to your asthma diet.
And now new studies are showing that it also works to open up the airways – check plus plus!
Yup – it’s true. This study from 2013 says ginger can be therapeutic for asthma and smooth muscle relaxation of the airways.
I really believe that tea for asthma is one of the best ‘natural remedies’ for managing our symptoms, so try mincing a little ginger to your next cup.
Or try this lemon ginger herbal tea (link to Amazon) – sweeten it with honey for an extra asthma-fighting kick!
If you’re not high the flavor of ginger but still want to include this superfood in your diet for asthma, you can also take it in supplement form (I found one for under $15 on Amazon at the time of writing this article).
Say it with me: an apple a day keeps your asthma symptoms at bay.
I love adding apples to my diet for asthma because have been shown to improve lung function.
And of course they’re also high in antioxidants, making them the ultimate asthma superfood.
Yummy, portable and quick to eat, they’re nature’s perfect afternoon snack – try eating one everyday and see how you feel.
More importantly, new studies are making it abundantly clear. A diet high in fruits and veggies is REALLY important for asthma management in both children and adults. This study suggest adults should shoot for 5 or more servings of vegetables a day and 2 servings of fruit.
(I would add that nothing is worse for your asthma than stress, so please don’t stress about the actual number of servings. Just try to eat more of the fresh stuff and you should be good!).
And Don’t Forget The Bad Guys
Please avoid trans-fats and omega-6 fatty acids as much as possible. There is no longer any doubt – the traditional Western diet, especially one heavy in fast food, is bad for our symptoms.
If you’re a junk-food junkie with asthma, we bet you’re used to waking up, breathless, and wishing you hadn’t eaten so much the night before (I know I have).
(Pro-tip: even if you’re not ready to give up your treats, try to stop eating 2-3 hours before bed. Not only will you sleep better, but you’ll probably end up cutting out a lot of empty calories, too).
And no judgement here. I love a good junk food binge as much as the next guy. But now that I’ve reduced how often I indulge, I breathe so much better.
Note that GERD and heartburn are known triggers of asthma symptoms. If your asthma is typically worse in the morning, diet and heartburn could be a culprit.
Remember, too, that obesity and asthma are linked, so watch your calories and try to lose weight if necessary. My wife, Emma, swears by Fitness Blender workouts, and she thinks they’d be a great resource if you’re trying to lose weight.
And while there’s no conclusive research on specific foods to avoid, become a student of your own body.
Keep a record of your diet in your asthma journal, and see if you can find links between episodes and your diet. If a certain food triggers your asthma, by all means avoid it.
And again, please don’t stress about your diet. Take small steps. I find it’s easier to think about what healthy food I can add to my diet, instead of focusing on what I need to take away. It’s not ‘do or die.’ Try to eat less junk food today … but the occasional indulgence now and then is ok. If you slip up – who cares? Move on. We’re in it for the long haul.
Ultimately, the best diet for asthma is the healthiest diet in general that you can maintain.
Don’t go crazy eliminating all your favorite foods – start slowly if you have to.
Become inspired by the Mediterranean diet, and try to eat as many fruits and veggies (and honey!) as possible.
Stick to that, try to keep junk food to a minimum, and your whole body is going to feel so much better.
Worried about coping with your new diagnosis? Don’t worry – I’m here to hold your hand!
Sick Of Your Inhaler?
Sick of taking your inhaler SO much? Ventolin abuse is real – and you CAN beat it.
There’s no cure for asthma, but there’s so much we can do to get our symptoms under control.
Do you struggle with asthma?
Sign up for more management tips!
More Recommended Reading:
If you're like me, you'll do anything to keep your asthma symptoms at bay - and you're wondering if air purifiers for asthma actually work. Thankfully, the short answer is: yes, they do - but some types are MUCH better than others for asthma. Studies show that the...
After a lifetime of using (and sometimes abusing) asthma medicine, you're probably asking yourself: is it possible to get natural asthma relief? I'm happy to report that yes, relief is possible. I use natural ingredients and processes as part of a holistic...
Asthma is a respiratory disease that makes breathing difficult by causing inflammation of the lungs and airways. CBD has been proven to help treat many types of asthma by reducing inflammation and relaxing the nervous system. CBD is a natural compound found in hemp...