A pair of irritated lungs filled with milk trapped in a milk carton.

What Foods Help or Hurt Our Asthma?

Many of us have heard the phrase "You are what you eat." Our diets can have a huge effect on our health and the ways our bodies feel. Curious how food can affect asthma? We asked our team of asthma advocates, “What foods have either helped or hurt your asthma?” Here is what they said.

Foods that helped or hurt asthma

Apples caused my throat to itch

Response from Leon Lebowitz

"Over the years, there have been so few foods that I can look back on and say caused any type of allergic reaction for me or enhanced managing the condition. The sole offender that comes to mind was (and I use the past tense) apples. When I was much younger, there seemed to be some apples that would cause my throat to itch and, sometimes, my eyes to water, and my nose to run.

"Interestingly enough, these reactions were never coupled with asthma symptoms. At the time, I recall usually waiting it out for the symptoms to subside. Today, apples do not affect me at all."

Dairy triggered my asthma

Response from Nicola Saunders

"I reduced my dairy intake a couple of years ago. I found that if I drank milk or ate cheese, yogurts, and even chocolate my asthma would be worse. It would feel as though I had a constant supply of mucus that needed to come up following dairy products, and I just couldn't shift it. I've actually found that I cough much less in general and during an attack since minimizing the number of dairy products I consume.

"I have also found that honey has really helped my asthma. Honey is a natural anti-inflammatory and it is so good for soothing my sore throat after putting up with a cough and a wheeze for days on end."

It is hard to pinpoint

Response from Kyky Knight

"I am currently vegan and ketogenic, but it is really hard to say if this has helped my asthma. Because I live with so many comorbidities including migraine, idiopathic anaphylaxis, and some digestive issues I've long dealt with, I kind of arrived at this way of eating due to all of those issues combined and trying to address the tummy pain, the head pain, the allergies, and the asthma."

Cutting out dairy and veganism have helped

Response from Samuel Taylor

"With so many variables changing in my life over a short period of time, it’s hard to tell what helped my asthma improve. I moved to France for a year, and when I did I became vegetarian and, shortly thereafter, vegan. Over this period of time, I experienced relief from my allergies and, in turn, my asthma. Since I cut dairy out of my diet my asthma has been much better, although I have still had some serious asthma flares since."

Not food, but caffeine!

Response from Becky Greiner

"I have not personally experienced foods that have either helped or hurt my asthma, but caffeine has helped my asthma significantly by keeping my airways open. Having a little black coffee as a kid saved me from a few trips to the hospital, and I'm an avid coffee drinker now as an adult!"

I have not tried an asthma diet

Response from John Bottrell

"Thankfully, I do not have any food allergies. So, there are no foods that I cannot eat due to my asthma. I am thankful that my asthma has not impacted my diet (unless I am on steroids). I do know that there are certain foods that may reduce inflammation or in some way benefit asthmatics. I have never realized the effect of these foods having any effect on my asthma or allergies. Although, to be fair, I have never stuck to any such 'asthma diet' for any length of time to find out."

What foods have helped or hurt your asthma?

As you probably know, every person's asthma is unique – and so are your triggers! While some people may find relief from cutting out dairy, consuming honey, or drinking coffee, others may not. We would love to hear from you in the comments below!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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