Diet and Asthma plus related breathing problems

I try to eat as healthily as possible ( apart from the odd bar of high quality G.and B choccy) and have found this interesting web ref to improving lung health.

I have copied and pasted some of this info plus a web ref link and I just wondered what everyone else thinks re eating ‘protective foods’ to improve lung health?

Has anyone radically changed their diet and noticed a big improvement in breathing probs?


Protective foods

There is evidence that certain vitamins and nutrients should be included in our diet on a regular basis to keep our lungs as healthy as possible.

Oxidative stress

Several lung diseases are associated with a process termed oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when the level of oxidant insults (such as cigarette smoke, air pollution and infections) is greater than our body’s antioxidant defence system can deal with.

Lung diseases

The lung diseases that have been associated with oxidative stress include:


•Emphysema and COPD

•Cystic fibrosis


•Interstitial lung diseases

•Adult acute respiratory distress syndrome


Eating the right foods

It is important to ensure we all consume the right dietary factors and nutrients that can help prevent damage and potentially protect our lungs from oxidative stress.

Antioxidant vitamins

Antioxidant vitamins, as the name suggests, are beneficial to lung health. Examples of some of the dietary sources of the various antioxidant vitamins are shown below:

VitaminsDietary source

Vitamin CCitrus fruits and juices, kiwi fruit, broccoli, green pepper

β-caroteneApricot, cantaloupe melon, mango, carrot, pepper, spinach, sweet potato

Vitamin EWheat germ, grains, vegetable oil, margarine, almond, peanut

SeleniumGrains (depending on soil content), animal products, seafood

Other nutrients

Other nutrients that have been shown to be beneficial to lung health include magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids.


Magnesium is beneficial as it plays a role in enzyme activity, it is involved in bronchodilation of the smooth muscle of the airways, it inhibits some nerve transmission and it stabilises cells involved in inflammation.

The dietary sources of magnesium include nuts, legumes, cereals, whole grains and seeds, carrots, spinach and seafood.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are involved in decreasing leukotrienes synthesis, the inhibition of prostaglandin E2 synthesis and the growth regulation of malignant cells.

It is not the amount of omega-3 fatty acid intake that is the most important for us, but rather the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish oils, fish and shellfish, soy, flaxseed oil and leafy vegetables.

Omega-6 fatty acids are found in vegetable oil, margarine, mayonnaise and processed food with oil.

We should eat 4 to 10 times more of omega-3 fatty acids when compared to omega 6.

2 Replies

  • very interesting thread mia.

    though i haven't radically changed my diet i do find that when i am able to control my wieght and/or reduce it through healthier eating and exercise then my asthma can improve dramatically though once a chest infection hits this does prove hard esp when i have to go back on pred and then pile all the wieght back on again, to have to start again with the loosin of it once asthma is back stable again.

    so what i think i'm tryin to say is that i do believe that what u eat can most probably affect how your breathing problems are in that context for some people. as is usual what applies to one person does not always apply to others and wieght control is a big issue for all people sufferin from chronic illnesses however hard you try.

  • interesting thought

    As some people will have noticed the NHS is pushing us all to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. With this in mind last september we launched a compiertition in work in teams so we got 1 point for every 2000 steps we do a day ans 1 point for every portion of fruit and veg eaten a day. The idea being the more points you get in your team the higher up the leader board you are. Strange part about it was the fact that it is since starting this comp I have been diagnosed as asthmatic strange when I think I have prob been more health concious since starting comp. Perhaps I just like to be different!

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