Wheezing and swelling (inflammation) are your body’s reaction to specific triggers that aggravate the lung. This is better known as asthma. There is no one cause of asthma: it can be hereditary, but triggers can vary between individuals. Food allergies may be one cause of asthma-like symptoms. Unless you have this type of allergy, foods are unlikely to cause asthma. However, some food choices are worth discussing with your doctor, especially if you experience breathing difficulties after consumption.
Food Allergies and Asthma Symptoms
Food allergies cause your immune system to react after eating certain foods. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, about 2 percent of American adults and 6 percent of children have this type of allergy. Technically, any food can cause an allergy. However, the most allergenic foods are soy beans, eggs, milk, wheat, fish, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts. Symptoms of an allergic reactions to food varies; while hives and rashes are common responses, you may also have wheezing similar to asthma. The Cleveland Clinic reports that asthmatic symptoms from food allergies are most common in children under the age of five.
Possible Aggravating Additives
If you don’t have food allergies or allergic asthma, there is still a possibility that other components of food can cause wheezing and breathing difficulties. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the common food additive Yellow No. 5 (“tartrazine”) has been linked to food sensitivities. Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, may also trigger immune system reactions. Other potential asthma triggers may include benzoates, sulfites, salicylates and monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG. Such asthma triggers are uncommon; however, it’s worth discussing with your doctor if you notice increased symptoms after eating foods with these ingredients.
Gassy Foods and Stomach Fullness
It’s normal feeling too full after the occasional large meal. When it comes to asthma management, eating too much may cause breathing difficulties. This is because your full stomach places pressure on your diaphragm. One way to prevent this effect is to eat smaller, more frequent meals. You can also decrease stomach fullness and the chances of wheezing by limiting gassy foods. Examples include broccoli, beans, cauliflower, onions, garlic and sausage.
Help Before Your Next Meal
Know your asthma triggers to avoid them from causing uncomfortable symptoms. Your doctor can help you figure out any foods to which you may be allergic or sensitive. When it comes to food-induced asthma symptoms, refrain from consuming the triggers. Severe allergies can lead to a life-threatening reaction, known as anaphylaxis.
Causes, Risk Factors and Prevention of Asthma
The exact cause of asthma is unknown. The cause of asthma is complex and different for each person. Allergies play an important role in many adults and children with asthma. Genetics also play an important role, as asthma tends to run in families. If you have asthma, your child has a 20 percent chance of getting the disease. If one identical twin has asthma, the second twin has up to a 33 percent chance of also having asthma.
What makes asthma worse?
Asthma triggers in the environment can make your asthma worse and even cause an asthma attack. Each person’s asthma triggers are different, therefore it is important to talk to your doctor and identify the specific environmental triggers that worsen your asthma.
What are the most common asthma triggers?
Common triggers of asthma include tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroaches, pets, mold, and smoke from burning wood or grass.
Tobacco smoke is unhealthy for everyone and especially people with asthma. Unfortunately, the rate of smoking is actually higher in those with asthma as compared to those without asthma. If you have asthma and smoke, quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your symptoms. It’s very difficult to quit smoking so getting help from your health care provider is often needed. If you are not a smoker but you spend time with people who smoke, your asthma can be triggered by secondhand smoke. Asthma can also be triggered by third hand smoke, which is the smell of smoke on the clothing of somebody who smokes. So, even if a family member only smokes outside the home, he or she can trigger an asthma attack for an individual with asthma who breathes in the odors from the smokers’ clothing.
Dust Mites are tiny bugs that are in most homes that can trigger an asthma attack in individuals with asthma. Mattress and pillowcase covers can create a barrier between dust mites and yourself.
What else makes asthma worse?
Other possible triggers include exposure to some chemicals, physical exercise, some medicines, weather changes, breathing in cold and dry air, some foods, fragrances, and even strong emotions that lead to fast breathing or hyperventilation.
Other health conditions that can exacerbate asthma are influenza (flu), colds, sinus infections, seasonal allergies, acid reflux disease, stress, and sleep apnea. These conditions also need to be treated in order to achieve adequate asthma control.