Asthma Severity Linked to Poor Diet
Asthma is a widespread condition affecting 20 million people in the United States alone. Asthma is a breathing problem characterized by an inflammation of the bronchial tubes. The inflammation causes the breathing tubes to constrict, reducing air flow. This can range from a mild annoyance to a dangerous and life-threatening condition.
What Causes Asthma?
Many people are trying to find out what causes asthma. Allergies, pollution, and genetics have all been blamed. Scientists are also beginning to find a connection between a poor diet and increased severity of asthma.
One study showed that the following contributed to the severity of a patient's asthma:
- Eating at fast food restaurants
- Lack of dairy products
- Lack of vegetables
- Deficiency of the following nutrients: Vitamin E, Fiber, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium and Sodium.
What does this mean for you?
Although it has not been proven that asthma can be cured by a healthy diet, it seems that a healthy diet can prevent asthma from occurring, or at least reduce the severity of asthma symptoms. It is vital that children eat a healthy diet!
If you have children, it is your responsibility to make sure they have a healthy diet so they can grow and thrive.
Healthy Diets for Children
Eating healthy is very important for kids, but a healthy diet for kids is a little different than a healthy diet for adults. Children do not need as much food as adults, and they need more of certain nutrients to support proper growth.
The USDA food pyramid is a great place to start for healthy eating.
Choose whole grains and wheat, brown rice, and oatmeal.
Eat lots of fresh, brightly colored vegetables every day.
Fruits should also be fresh and brightly colored.
Fats and oils
Fats and oils should be consumed in moderation. Look for sources of unsaturated, or "good" fats.
Low-fat dairy products provide much-needed calcium for growing bones. Most pediatricians agree that children under five should not have dairy products.
Lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and peanuts are all good sources of proteins.
Other tips for getting kids to eat healthy:
- Substitute fruit for candy. Popular kid favorites are citrus fruits, apples, grapes, raisins, and berries.
- Give kids veggies to snack on instead of chips or pretzels. Sliced carrots, cucumbers, and celery can be made more appetizing (and fun!) with low-fat dip.
- Don't feed your kids fast food very often. Once or twice a month is ok, but every week is NOT!
- Try to send healthy lunches to school with them, and tell them they aren't allowed to trade.
- Get kids involved with cooking. Older kids may take an interest in learning to cook. Teach them how to make a few healthy meals, and then let them cook for the whole family (supervised, of course.) Younger kids can help, too. Find ways to include them safely.
- Now is the time to teach them valuable skills and knowledge so they can eat healthy for the rest of their lives. Explain why it is important to eat healthy!
Photo Credit: mikecogh