Asthma Due to Food Articles

We all enjoy an assortment of foods as part of our daily lifestyle. There are numerous natural components and compounds in the foods that we consume. After many years of clinical investigation, the view that foods may cause asthma symptoms has been negated; now it is widely held that there are very few confirmed food triggers to asthma.

Do food articles cause asthma?

Although food allergies may trigger asthma in a few people, not all individuals with food allergies have asthma. The following foods are some of the most common asthma triggers:

* Diagnosed food allergens such as:
* Milk
* Eggs
* Peanuts
* Some seeds, such as sesame
* Tree nuts,
* Soya
* Wheat
* Shellfish
* Sulfites and its agents – such as sulfur dioxide, sodium metabisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, and sodium sulfite. . Common food sources of sulfites include:
* dried fruits or vegetables
* potatoes
* wine, beer
* lemon juice
* shrimp
* pickles

Why do certain foods cause asthma?

A food allergy produces asthma symptoms because of allergic reaction called an ‘Ig-E mediated allergic reaction’. An IgE-mediated allergic reaction is so-called because it is brought about by IgE – immunoglobulin E – one of the body’s natural antibodies that is designed to fight disease.

When exposed to a food that causes allergy, the IgE antibody goes into action and sparks a series of chemical reactions in the body’s tissues which cause the airways to narrow with typical asthma symptoms such as wheeze, cough and/or difficulty in breathing.

Is food intolerance similar to asthma caused due to food articles?

When on eating certain foods, one gets some repulsive effects such as abdominal pain, wind, diarrohea, it is termed as intolerance towards that particular food. Food intolerance is not necessarily asthma, but in some people, food intolerance can trigger asthma symptoms.

Do food additives cause asthma?

If a person is intolerant to a food additive/chemical, his response to the chemical depends on how much is consumed, that is, eating a small amount might not make a difference, but a large amount is likely to produce symptoms. In case of a food allergy – eating even the smallest amount of an allergen food can trigger a severe reaction.

Here are some of food chemicals that can cause food intolerance, and in some people can trigger asthma symptoms.

* Sulphite is used as preservatives in fruit juice or drink, wine, dried fruits such as apricots.
* Food and drinks containing colours.
* Tartrazine is used as a dye in many foods and may in a few cases trigger asthma. .
* Benzoate is used as a preservative in fruit products (jams, jellies) and soft drinks.
* Salicylates – present in many pain-relieving medications such as aspirin.
* Monosodium glutamate occurs naturally in many foods or is added to enhance flavour in many Chinese preparations, soya sauce.

Are there any food articles that help in case of an asthma attack?

1. Some food articles can help control an asthma attack. One of the best-known foods for doing this is coffee, due to the presence of caffeine.

2. Some other food articles actually do dilate air passageways, by thinning the mucus and opening them up. The foods in this category include spicy, pungent foods like chilli, hot mustard, garlic and onions. These hot foods function by stimulating the nerves, thereby resulting in the release of a watery fluid in the mouth, throat and lungs.

3. Some food articles control inflammation of the airways because of their anti-inflammatory components. These include onions, fatty fish (high in omega 3 fatty acids) and Vitamin C rich foods.

How to prevent asthma triggered by food articles?

The best way to avoid food-induced asthma is by determining asthma triggers and avoiding or eliminating that food from diet altogether.

Read the labeled ingredients on packaged food before buying them, and be aware of your food triggers. This is the best protection against an asthma attack.

Be in consultation with your physician for an emergency plan; use proper medications, and you will be prepared to act in case of an asthma attack.

The doctor may suggest a food allergy test or an elimination diet.

An elimination diet involves consuming food free from all suspected allergens for two weeks, then re-introducing one food every three days. You will be asked to note any reactions such as headaches or increasing asthma.

Although research is going on in this area, some alternative diets, such as a vegan diet or eliminating sugar, may help prevent asthma. Whatever you try out, asthma is a serious condition and you should work closely with your doctor in controlling it.

A warning for all new mothers!

Exposure of a baby to some foods in its first few months may predispose to asthma in later stages of life. A research article published in the July 2004 Pediatrics said that formula fed babies who got multivitamin drops in the first 6 months of life were on an average 1.6 times more likely to develop food allergies and become prone to asthma as compared to other formula-fed babies. This association did not hold for breastfed kids.