Doctors and scientists still don’t fully understand all the causes of asthma.  However, they’ve managed to narrow down the most common triggers for attacks.  Allergy-induced asthma episodes are common because 70% of those who have asthma also have allergies.  

Primary Triggers of Asthma Attacks

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Inhaled environmental pollution such as smog or chemical irritants
  • Dust or pet dander
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Mold, pollen, or grass clippings

Asthma is the most common chronic childhood disease and affects children from all walks of life, all socio-economic levels, and very often under-diagnosed.  

When someone experiences an asthma attack, the lining of their bronchial tubes swell.  This causes the airways to narrow and reduces the flow of air into and out of the lungs.  

Asthma can result in sleeplessness, daytime fatigue, low energy, and frequent absences from school or work.  This disease has a lower fatality rate compared to other chronic diseases but the wheezing or breathlessness during an attack can range from mild to life-threatening.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates more than 339 million people suffer from asthma as of 2018.  Every day, more than 1,000 people die as a result of an asthma attack and nearly all those deaths are preventable.  In poorer countries, asthma is regularly untreated.

New Asthma Cause Identified

At the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, researchers discovered a link between a fungus called Alternaria alternata and the occurrence of asthmatic episodes.  

The fungus is common in the commercial growth of certain fruits.  

Produce that is infected – though not rotted – can trigger an attack when specific proteins known as Alt 1 and Alt 5 are present as well.  These proteins lower the natural defense of the fruit – kiwi in this study – against the fungus.

The fungal spores are allergic to the protein, many asthmatics are allergic to the spore, and the combination of all three may be one of the primary causes of asthma attacks induced by allergies among children in the United States.  

Until more research is done, knowing that seemingly ripe and healthy kiwi contain Alternaria alternata, those with asthma should use caution when consuming the fruit.  

There is currently no cure for this disease but doctors at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York suggest specific foods to lower inflammation in the lungs and boost your body’s defenses against your personal asthma causes.  

The “Big 8” Antioxidants to Control Asthma

  • Glutathione:  Found in rich supply within the fantastic avocado, glutathione is considered one of the most crucial antioxidants to your body.  The monounsaturated fats of avocados are also excellent for lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol and raising HDL “good” cholesterol levels.
  • Vitamin D:  Those with severe asthma are often vitamin D deficient.  Though dairy products tend to be fortified with this essential vitamin, many asthma sufferers have allergies that prevent the consumption of too much dairy.  Your best source is sunshine! 10 minutes of sun on your hands and face a day will provide all you need! If you don’t get enough sun…you need to consider supplementation!
  • Khellin:  One study in the UK found that sufferers who consumed 3-5 apples each week lowered their occurrences of attack by more than 30%.  Khellin, a flavonoid found in apples, has been shown to open up breathing passages.
  • Vitamin C:  Citrus, broccoli, tomatoes, leafy greens, and cantaloupe boost your body’s vitamin C levels.  A Japanese study of preschool children found that those with the highest levels of this particular vitamin suffered the least attacks.
  • Allicin:  Found in abundance in garlic – a powerful food with many benefits – as it breaks down in the body, it produces a by-product that destroys free radicals and could aid in the reduction of asthma attacks.
  • Beta-carotene:  This antioxidant is converted to vitamin A when you consume it in the form of carrots, green peppers, sweet potatoes, and fruit with bright colors.  Initial research found that making sure you get enough beta-carotene helps with exercise-induced asthma attacks.
  • Caffeine:  When consumed in coffee, it works as a bronchodilator that improves the passage of air in and out of the lungs.  Black tea appears to have the same effect. One study found that participants who consumed coffee had improved airway function for up to four hours.  
  • Omega-3:  Found in flax seeds and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, omega-3s are good for you all the way around.  Constriction of bronchi triggers asthma and the omega-3 and possibly magnesium seem to relax the muscles of the lung, keeping them open for better airflow.  

Allergy-induced asthma attacks link two of the most dangerous chronic illnesses.  

The “Big 8” Food Allergies Linked to Asthma

  • Cow’s milk
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Fish
  • Tree nuts
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Wheat

A diet high in nutrients is the first step to boosting your immunity, lowering inflammation, and controlling what causes asthma attacks.  This chronic illness does not have to control your life!

 

REFERENCES

https://www.who.int/respiratory/asthma/en/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140715085049.htm

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20672020,00.html

http://foodallergies.about.com/od/foodallergybasics/a/big_eight_fa.htm

http://www.globalasthmareport.org/

http://www.aaaai.org/about-the-aaaai/newsroom/asthma-statistics.aspx