Best Foods for Fighting Asthma (Cont'd)
Good Anti-Asthma Foods from Sunflower Seeds and Apples to Ginger and Turmeric
Are you on a quest for a list of good foods for asthma sufferers? Look no further! We've combed through the most compelling research on asthma and foods, and are happy to share the following list of good anti-asthma foods with you.
Note that this is the second part of a two-page article on asthma-fighting foods. If you missed the first part, click here.
#11: Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds, chock-full of anti-asthma nutrients, are a very good food for asthmatics to eat on a regular basis. These mild nutty tasting seeds are loaded with vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium. They are also a good source of selenium, with one cup providing more than a third of the recommended daily intake for this important mineral. Furthermore, sunflower seeds are among the seeds and nuts that are least likely to cause allergic reactions in people. When incorporating sunflower seeds into your diet, moderation should be practiced as these little seeds are very calorie-dense.
Studies show that apples possess some extraordinary properties that may provide protection against asthma. One study discovered that pregnant women who eat apples may be able to protect their child from developing asthma. Another study found that by drinking apple juice daily children could reduce their chance of suffering from wheezing by 50%. These beneficial effects of apples may be linked to their high concentration of bioflavonoids, such as quercetin. Quercetin is known to possess strong anti-histamine, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. When buying apples, be sure to purchase organically grown fruit: together with peaches, conventionally grown apples top the list of fruits that contain the highest levels of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
#13: Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of the oldest vegetables known to man. They are also one of the most nutritious vegetables and an excellent addition to your diet if you suffer from asthma. Sweet potatoes are one of the foods that are least likely to cause allergic reactions, which is great news since asthma is often linked to allergies. What's more, sweet potatoes contain plenty of vitamin C and potassium as well as unique root proteins which, according to preliminary studies, may have significant antioxidant properties. The pink, orange, and yellow varieties are also one of the most concentrated food sources of beta-carotene (the more intense the color, the more beta-carotene).
Ginger, one of the oldest spices in the world, is well known for its cold treating powers, but it may also help prevent and alleviate asthma symptoms. Its asthma fighting properties are thought to be attributable to gingerols, strong anti-inflammatory substances that also give ginger its distinctive flavor. Fresh ginger, which is said to be the most effective form of ginger, is available year round in the produce section of your local supermarket.
Turmeric, a spice that lends its yellow color to curries and many other foods, has long been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat asthma and many other conditions and diseases. In recent years, also western medicine has started to pay greater attention to this extraordinary spice. Recent research suggests that turmeric possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties. Although best known for its use in Indian style curries, turmeric can also be used to add flavor and color to fish, seafood, meat, rice, vegetable, and pasta dishes.
Tomatoes possess many extraordinary properties that make them an attractive functional food for preventing asthma and alleviating asthma symptoms. Their most notable quality: they provide lycopene. In one study with 32 asthmatic adults, those who were given tomato extract rich in lycopene had a lower rate of lung inflammation than those who received a placebo.
When incorporating tomato products into your diet, be aware that lycopene from processed tomato products — such as tomato paste, tomato juice, and catsup — appears to be more bioavailable than lycopene from raw tomatoes. Further, lycopene is better absorbed by the body in the presence of beta-carotene. Coincidentally, tomatoes also contain beta-carotene! In addition to lycopene and beta-carotene, tomatoes contain vitamin C and a substantial amount of potassium in proportion to their calorie content (a 100-calorie serving of tomatoes provides a third of the reference daily intake for potassium).
This relatively unknown member of the cabbage family is a nutritional powerhouse packed with vitamins and other phytochemicals that have been shown to alleviate symptoms associated with asthma. Not only is the superfood kale a great source of vitamin C, it is also one of the most concentrated dietary sources of beta-carotene (kale contains ten times the beta-carotene of broccoli). As a result of its high content of vitamin C and beta-carotene as well as a number of other antioxidant phytochemicals, kale is one of the vegetables with the highest ORAC rating. ORAC, or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, measures foods' ability to disarm free radicals, unstable molecules that cause contraction of airway smooth muscles. The tender young leaves of kale can be eaten raw, for example as a substitute for iceberg lettuce in salads. The beautiful green leaves of kale can also be transformed into a savory warm dish by sautéing the leaves and mixing them with chopped onions, crushed garlic and a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.
You've probably heard that carrots are good for vision, but did you know that they may also be helpful for people susceptible to asthma? In one study, women who ate the most carrots were found to have a 20% lower risk of asthma than women with the lowest intakes. These beneficial effects are likely to be linked to high concentration of beta-carotene in carrots, but also the vitamin C contained in carrots may play a role. When buying carrots, choose carrots with the deepest, darkest orange color as they contain the highest levels of beta-carotene. Further, it is advisable to buy organically grown carrots rather than conventionally grown produce. According to research, conventionally grown carrots are among the 5 most contaminated vegetables in terms of pesticide and chemical content. (Note: Aside from being a top food choice for people with asthma, carrots offer a host of other benefits which are discussed in the article Health Benefits of Eating Carrots).
#19: Mustard Greens
Chock-full of antioxidants and nutrients, mustard greens can make an excellent addition to your diet if you are susceptible to asthma attacks. In addition to being one of the best sources of beta-carotene, they provide a good amount of vitamin C and vitamin E. The nutrients in mustard greens can scavenge free radicals that cause smooth muscle contraction and airway constriction in people with asthma. Moreover, they may aid in the breakdown of histamine. Mustard greens with their distinctly peppery flavor are available throughout the year and can be found in the produce section of your local supermarket.
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