How I Eat to Help Manage My Asthma

Last updated: December 2022

Usually, when we are diagnosed with a chronic condition, the focus is on what we need to take out of our diet. This can include sugar, gluten, or wheat. Restricting what we eat can be physically, emotionally, and even financially difficult. That’s why I focus on what food and ingredients I can add to my meals. I figure adding more healthy and non-inflammatory ingredients will help improve my health and may make it easier to avoid foods that may impact my asthma.

I believe that what I eat helps me manage my asthma

However, according to the American Lung Association, asthma is inflammation, or swelling, of the airways. If asthma and other chronic conditions are caused or made worse by inflammation, eating an anti-inflammatory diet makes sense to me. I have been following the Mediterranean diet for a few years now, hoping my overall health and asthma would improve. In this article, I listed some of my favorite anti-inflammatory ingredients, with a few tips on how to use them.1

My asthma has improved dramatically over the last few years. Currently, I am averaging less than one rescue inhaler a year, and no controller medications unless I catch a virus. This is a huge improvement; it wasn’t too long ago that I was taking two controller medicines and using my nebulizer a few times a week. I can’t say for sure that following this meal plan was the one thing that improved my asthma. I did also move, switch jobs, complete immunotherapy, and raise my low vitamin D to a normal level. Any or all of these things could have played a role in improving my asthma.

There is no official “asthma diet”

I follow the Mediterranean diet

I found that the Mediterranean diet has been easy to follow. It is based on my favorite cuisines found in Greece, Italy, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. The foundation of the diet is plant-based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. Olive oil is the main source of added fat; however, I often substitute it for avocado oil, especially in salad dressings. Fish, seafood, poultry, and dairy are included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are eaten only occasionally.

I’m not exactly sure what “moderation” means when it comes to eating fish, but I do like to make salmon twice a week. Since I can get two meals out of each dish, I eat salmon about 4 times a week. I always feel good after eating salmon. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, has vitamins D, A, and B12, and is high in protein. It’s also very quick and easy to cook.

Here are a few of my favorite tips for cooking the perfect salmon:

  • At your favorite fresh fish counter, ask for the salmon to be cut into individual portions. Or buy the pre-cut (this is called a Buffalo cut) salmon already packaged. This ensures every piece is the same size and will cook evenly.
  • Always dry the salmon with a paper towel before seasoning and cooking.
  • Wrapping the salmon in a tinfoil packet on top of fresh vegetables and lemon slices will keep the fish moist during cooking. Bake in the oven or on the grill.
  • Season the salmon well with generous amounts of salt, pepper, herbs de Provence, oregano, parsley, and thyme. Fresh or dried herbs will work.
  • Pan fry in a pan with olive or avocado oil. If you want crispy skin, place the salmon face down in the pan. If you want a crispy top, place the salmon skin-side down in the pan.
  • Always squeeze fresh lemon juice on salmon right before eating.

Have you noticed that what you eat helps or doesn't help you manage your asthma?

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