Asthma is a health condition that affects many people in India, and there are a number of foods that can make the condition worse or trigger an attack. If you have this chronic respiratory condition then you should take a closer look at foods that are most likely to trigger an asthma attack. From dairy and eggs to nuts and soy, these foods may lead to asthma attacks.
Asthma is a serious health condition that affects millions of people around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that an estimated 262 million people around the world are affected by this chronic respiratory condition characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways, leading to recurrent episodes of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. The WHO also mentions that around 455,000 deaths occur due to asthma every year.
In India, asthma is a significant health concern. According to the recent Global Burden of Disease report published in 202, 34.3 million Indians are affected by asthma and 13.2 per 1000 deaths in the country occur due to asthma. While environmental factors like pollen, allergens and pollution do impact asthma occurrence in India, certain foods are also held responsible for allergies and asthma attacks. The compounds in certain foods like nuts and eggs can actually trigger asthma attacks in individuals.
However, it is important to note that the triggers can vary from person to person. What may trigger asthma symptoms in one individual may not affect another person at all. That being said, here are eight foods that are commonly reported as potential asthma triggers.
Some individuals with asthma may experience symptoms after consuming dairy products such as milk, cheese, paneer and yoghurt. It is believed that the proteins present in dairy products can cause an allergic reaction, leading to airway inflammation and asthma symptoms. So, it is best to try an elimination diet to figure out if you are indeed allergic to dairy products.
Though they are very nutritious and especially great for your daily protein count, eggs can be another potential trigger for asthma in some individuals. The egg white, specifically, contains proteins that can cause an allergic reaction and potentially trigger asthma symptoms. If you consume eggs and get asthma attacks, you should try eliminating it from your diet to check if that helps.
Certain types of seafood, such as prawns, shrimp, shellfish, and fish, have been reported as asthma triggers. People with asthma may experience symptoms after consuming these foods due to allergic reactions to proteins present in seafood. Try cutting off seafood from your diet and check if that helps prevent further asthma attacks.
Peanuts and tree nuts like almonds, walnuts, and cashews are known allergens that can cause asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals. Nut allergies can trigger asthma attacks or worsen existing symptoms. This is the reason why you should consult a doctor and check if avoiding certain nuts that can help.
This might come as a major shock for vegetarians and vegans who depend on soy for protein. Soy products, including soybeans, soy milk, soy nuggets and tofu, can also act as asthma triggers. Some individuals with asthma may be sensitive to soy proteins, leading to inflammation of the airways.
Wheat is used in India to make everything from daily rotis to parathas, so this might actually surprise many. Wheat is a common allergen that can potentially exacerbate asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals. It is often associated with exercise-induced asthma. So, consult a doctor about whether or not you need to cut off wheat.
Processed Foods & Beverages
Processed foods and beverages, whether they are prepackaged juices or ready-to-cook meals, contain preservatives and additives that can cause asthma attacks. Sulfites are a particular class of preservatives that can trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals, particularly in those with sulfite sensitivity. Certain food additives, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and artificial food colorings, have been reported to trigger asthma symptoms in some people.
Alcohol consumption can potentially trigger asthma symptoms or worsen existing asthma in some individuals. Alcoholic beverages, such as wine, beer, and champagne, can contain histamine and sulfites—which are compounds that can trigger allergic reactions. Consuming alcohol can also cause restrictions in the airways, which can cause asthma attacks too. Alcohol can also interfere with any medications you take.