Health


Caring for your lungs



You can lower your chances of lung disease and even make your lungs work better just by eating a few vegetables and a little fruit each day — especially apples as per some of the British studies on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which can cause asthma, bronchitis, etc. Also a survey of heavy smokers revealed that eating just a portion of vegetables a day reduces the risk of COPD by almost half and that one and a half portions of fruit, particularly apples helped almost as much. Breathing difficulty is the main symptom of asthma so don't wait until it develops into the more serious pulmonary disease so start eating more fruits and vegetables.

Pick a juicy apple
Apples are a big plus in the fight against asthma. Apple skin contains lots of quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that helps keep asthma at bay and antioxidants battle the free radicals produced by your inflamed airways. So eat apples at least five times a week along with other good sources of quercetin like red onions, buck-wheat and citrus fruits.

Set your sights on citrus fruits

Because it is the main antioxidant in the surface of the lung, vitamin C is a major player in the asthma game. Citrus fruits — oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes (should be avoided during the attack) — are all near the top of the list of food sources for C after that its "P" foods — sweet peppers, papaya, peaches and pineapples to get more vitamin C.

Look for the reddest tomatoes
Lycopene is a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their rich colour. Since few foods have as much lycopene as tomatoes, that might be the reason a triple dose of them each week helps protect against asthma. You can also get lycopene from pink grapefruit and water melon. Even better is guava which compares to the tomato for lycopene and has more vitamin C than an orange.

Cut into a cantaloupe
Your body turns beta carotene into vitamin A, another powerful antioxidant that helps increase lung capacity. This juicy, delicious member of the gourd family has been pleasing people since ages and it gets its brilliant orange colour from beta carotene, as do carrots and pumpkins.

Dine on an avocado
You can eat avocados for magnesium which research has linked to higher lung capacity especially when combined with vitamin C. This trace mineral acts as a bronchodilator to help open up your airways and make it easier to breathe.

Be aware
Has eating a dried fig or apricot ever left you gasping for air? Did a glass of milk start an uncontrollable cough? If yes, you have experienced the connection between what you eat and how you breathe. By pinpointing the foods you are sensitive to, you can avoid the inflammation that brings on your attacks. Although almost any food can cause a reaction, the most common are eggs, milk, fish wheat, citrus fruits, banana, peanuts and soy. These would be the first things to consider if you think food sensitivity is causing your asthma attacks. Other foods on the list of allergens are shellfish, chocolate and tree nuts.

Sometimes it's not the food itself, but something added to it that causes your airways to close up. Sulphites are used to keep food looking fresh and give it a longer shelf life but they are asthma triggers for some people so check labels for possible triggers before buying packaged foods like dried fruits, shrimp, etc. Even non food items have been known to trigger asthma attacks. If you are asthmatic, stay away from royal jelly. If you think your asthma attacks may be triggered by food, start keeping a diet diary. Write down what and when you eat and see if you find a link to your attacks. Once you suspect a certain food, eliminate it from your diet for five to 14 days and then reintroduce it to see if it causes a problem. Once you know a certain food triggers your asthma, the best thing to do is to avoid it but keep in mind the nutrition you get from that food. For instance, if you swear off milk, you need to get calcium from somewhere else. If citrus fruits are your problem, decide where you will get the vitamin C and other antioxidants, you need to protect your lungs. So blast away at asthma's overall effects by insuring your diet contains plenty of vitamins A, C, E as well as the minerals magnesium and selenium all of which have been proven to help prevent or reduce asthma symptoms.

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