Can the Way I Eat Help Control Asthma?
Yes, absolutely. In general, the eating principles for reducing the number of asthma attacks are a diet which is:
- moderately low fat
- low sugar
- high complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and starchy vegetables
- making protein, preferably vegetable protein, only 12-15% of the diet, and decreasing foods high in arachidonic
acid (red meats and dairy products). Animal protein tends to be inflammatory.
- vegan cleansing diet or alkaline juice fasts (3-7 days), followed by a vegetarian diet with emphasis on alkaline
forming foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
Specific therapeutic foods for controlling asthma are:
- From a Chinese medicine perspective, you want to eat foods that enhance the moisture (or Yin aspect) of the Lung.
These are juicy, pungent foods such as garlic, onions, leeks, turnips, grapes, pineapple, green leafy vegetables,
apricots, apricot kernels, almonds, walnuts, carrots, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, figs, daikon, lychee, tangerines,
loquats, honey, molasses, mustard greens, and sesame seeds.
- Other good foods to reduce inflammation as well as for dilating the bronchi are collard greens, cauliflower, garlic,
onions, turnips, endive, apricots, cherries, elderberries, green vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, sprouted seeds and
- Increase omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids: vegetable, nut, seed oils, salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, walnuts,
flax seed oil, evening primrose oil, black currant oil. Take at least 1 Tbsp of one of the raw oils daily to minimize bronchial
- foods high in flavonoids and carotenoids such as dark green leafy vegetables and deep yellow and orange
For those of you into juicing fresh vegetables and fruits, the following drinks, preferably taken on an empty stomach
each morning, will help prevent asthma attacks:
- celery and papaya
- celery, endive, and carrot
- spinach and carrot
- lime, horseradish, and garlic
Some more specific food remedies:
- for shortness of breath: l lb. salmon, 2 oz. garlic, 1/4 oz. fresh ginger, salt and tamari. Place seasonings over
salmon and steam. Divide and eat three times daily to reduce inflammation.
- eat mango fruit and the skin three times daily.
- take 120 g of dried lychee, discard skin and stones, steam in a covered pot then mash and serve
(Yin-fang and Cheng-jun, p. 57)
- for asthma of elderly, cough with thick phlegm: take 2 dried persimmons and 30g candied honey. Add water,
steam in a covered pot, mash and eat twice daily.
- take a fresh lemon and add 1-2 tbsp. honey. Steam in water, with the skin, until soft, mash and eat twice
- take 3 fresh peaches, peel and simmer with 30g honey in a covered pot. Discard the stones and eat daily.
- take 30g of walnut kernels, 15g honey and 6g turnip seed. Steam for 30 minutes and eat twice daily.
- take 60g of walnut kernels and 3g red ginseng. Cover with water and simmer into a soup. Serve twice daily for 3
- take 60g of fresh chestnuts and 4 pieces Chinese date plus a small amount lean pork. Add water and simmer until
cooked, eat once daily.
Foods to strictly avoid are the mucus forming ones, such as:
- cow's milk and other dairy products
- white bread
- refined foods and processed foods
- sugar and sweets
- ice cream
- salty foods
- cold foods
- mung beans
Asthma attacks may be brought on by allergenic foods. The most common ones are milk, chocolate, wheat, cheese,
bananas, peanuts, citrus, and food colorings (tartrazine). If possible, eliminate the use of aspirin and non-steroidal
anti-inflammatories, such as Ibuprofen.
About The Author
A graduate of Bastyr University in Seattle, she completed both the Naturopathic and Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine programs. Her preceptor work (similar to residencies) took place in Seattle, West Virginia and China, with emphasis on gynecology, counseling, herbal medicine and naturopathic manipulation...more