Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the lungs that has skyrocketed in cases and mortality worldwide recently. The cases of asthma have nearly doubled within the last 30 years in children. Even though air pollution has decreased, suffering and even deaths from asthma-related events still continue to rise.
Allergies and asthma are often a reaction to inhaling irritating substances like pollen, dust, animal fur/hair, infections be chemical irritants. It can also be triggered by exercise and even emotions. The bottom line to all of those mentioned is one underlying cause: an excessive irritability of the airways that leads to inflammation and restriction.
Inflammation is the keyword to almost every illness in our society today. An anti-inflammatory diet can improve not only allergies and asthma, but a whole host of other illnesses many suffer from as well.
Asthma & Allergies: The Underlying Cause
Avoiding and removing the triggers to allergies and asthma is beneficial to the child. But what is even more important (and not always considered) is why children are hypersensitive to these triggers (or allergens) to begin with. Learning WHY someone is reacting to an allergen will guide you closer to improving or even reversing common chronic conditions like allergies or asthma.
- Genetics: Genetics play a small role, but they are not the major villain in allergies and asthma.
- Pollution: Living in an urban area around pollution is an important contributor. Exposure to wood smoke, exhaust or any other type of smoke before age 5 have all been shown to increase asthma rates in children by 50 percent.
- Nutritional Factors: Nutritional influences are powerfully linked to allergies and asthma in multiple studies. I will cover these factors in depth below.
Nutritional Factors Impacting Asthma & Allergies
- The Lack of Breastfeeding: The lack of breastfeeding along with the high ratio of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids can cause increased risk of asthma and allergies in developing children.
- Animal Products: Animal products are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. This dietary pattern that can result from overconsumption of animal products by a pregnant/lactating mother or child can both result in higher numbers of allergies and asthma. Eating a high amount of protein-rich and fat-rich foods of animal origin (meat, cheese, etc) have all been associated with higher prevalence of allergies and asthma. This dietary pattern along with eating a lower intake of fiber-rich vegetables and other high fiber foods can have similar implications.
- Inflammatory Foods: Consuming inflammatory foods can and will cause complications with chronic illnesses. Removing inflammatory foods like dairy, gluten, refined sugars and animal products will result in improvements of many restricting symptoms. To read more about the impact inflammatory foods can have on our bodies, check out this article by Dr. Axe
Improving Allergies & Asthma With Diet
The best way to battle allergies and asthma in children is with diet. It has been proven time and time again through credible studies the power that the right dietary choices can have on these otherwise “chronic illnesses”. Here are some basic but important dietary guidelines to improve or even reverse asthma and allergies in children.
- A high nutrient diet that focuses on vegetables, nuts and fruits.
- Daily servings of ground flax seeds (One tablespoon a day)
- At least one ounce of raw walnuts daily (and other nuts too)
- DHA Supplement, 100-400mg daily
- No processed foods, dairy fats or trans fat
- No oils
- Limited or no animal products
Nutritional excellence that is outlined above will put a stop to the inflammatory response that attracts white blood cells and fluid into the area that is causing issues (in this cause, the airways and lungs) and the tightness and swelling (otherwise termed as Asthma) will subside.
Here are some more specific guidelines that may help with asthma symptoms as well. When nutrient intake is slow, lung tissues can become very sensitive to irritating stimuli. Ensure that your child is reaching maximum nutrient intake each and every day for best results.
Have you ever tried any of these methods for your children with allergies or asthma? Have you you tried something not listed with success? Comment with what has worked for you!
Love & Light,
ATS 99th International Conference Mini-Symposium: Abstract Page A831. Risk Factors for the development of asthma in childhood (Hygiene Hypothesis)– Early life risk factors for asthma: findings from the Children’s Health Study. Presented May 21 2003.
“Disease Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right” by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
Ushiyama Y, Matsumoto K, Shinohara M, et al. Nutrition during pregnancy may be associated with allergic disease in infants. J Nutri Sci Vitaminol. (Tokyo) 2002: 48 (5):345-351.