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Common Foods That Trigger Asthma

Foods That Trigger Asthma Attacks

The Most Common Asthma Triggers for Children

May 31, 2018

Asthma attacks are no fun and sometimes they seem to come out of nowhere. Although individuals with asthma have different triggers that cause an attack, some foods are more prone to cause asthma than others. If your body is sensitive to a certain food, your immune system will attack it in different ways. For asthma sufferers, its likely to be an asthma attack. If you or a loved one suffers from asthma, avoiding certain foods may help reduce the severity and frequency of asthma attacks. Below are some foods that are known to trigger asthma attacks:


Many people are allergic to eggs and develop skin reactions such as hives. However, asthma sufferers should be aware that if they have even a slight egg allergy or sensitivity, it may cause an asthma attack instead of hives.


Asthma essentially causes inflammation in the throat and tightens the airway, making it difficult to breathe. Salt contributes to these symptoms because it encourages fluid retention that can increase inflammation. Individuals with asthma should consider reducing their salt intake to reduce the chances of asthma attacks.

Dried Fruits

Dried fruits may be healthy and tasty, but they are not the best food for individuals with asthma because they contain a preservative called sulfite that can cause asthma attacks. If you want dried fruits, consider drying them yourself, without preservatives. Otherwise, stick to the fresh stuff.



Mushrooms & Cheese

I 26 Best Foods For Asthma And Allergies

When it comes to best foods for asthma, there is evidence that people eating diets higher in vitamin C, E, beta-carotene, magnesium, flavonoids, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids seemed to have lower risks of asthma. These substances are mainly antioxidants which can protect the cells from damage. Regardless of the connection between asthma and diet, we all know that good nutrition is crucial to anyone, particularly those people with chronic diseases. If you do not take the right nutrients, then your body might be more susceptible to ailments and not able to successfully fight the respiratory viruses which often trigger asthma attacks. Here are some of the most basic guidelines of healthy foods for asthma:

May Help: Nuts And Seeds

They’ve got lots of good things in them, but one in particular that might be good for asthma is vitamin E. Almonds, hazelnuts, and raw seeds are good sources, as well as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale. Vitamin E has tocopherol, a chemical that could help cut how much you cough and wheeze from your asthma. Studies are under way.

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List Of Potential Asthma Triggers

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Asthma is a multifaceted disease. Its a heterogeneous disease, meaning it presents differently from one person to another. So, this means that one person may have many different asthma triggers. It means that different asthmatics may have triggers that are unique to the individual. That said, here is a running list of all the asthma triggers I can think of.

Common Foods That Can Trigger Asthma

12 Powerful Anti

We do know that asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of your airways. The causes of the asthma trigger can vary from person to person. There are some foods too that can trigger asthma. Still, one thing is sure for all is when the person comes into contact with the asthma trigger, the symptoms get started.

Food that can trigger asthma can be mild to severe life-threatening reactions. Well, there is no diet for asthma patients that can eliminate asthma symptoms. But there are certain foods that give relief to an individual to trigger the attack. While some other foods can trigger the symptoms.

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May Help: Fruits And Veggies

There’s no specific asthma diet that can get rid of your breathing troubles. But certain foods may have benefits. Fruits and veggies are a good place to start. They’re full of chemicals called antioxidants like beta carotene and vitamins E and C. These help stop particles called “free radicals” that damage cells and could inflame and irritate your lungs.

Foods To Avoid With Asthma

Foods rarely trigger an asthma attack. But the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction to some foods can mimic asthma symptoms. The first step is to know if you have a food allergy. Any abnormal reaction to a food is considered an adverse reaction. Adverse reactions can either be:

  • Food allergy: When your immune system reacts to proteins in foods that usually are safe or harmless. Your doctor can do skin tests to find out if youâre sensitive to certain foods.
  • Food intolerance: When your body responds to the food, not your immune system. Examples include food poisoning, reactions to chemicals in food or drinks such as caffeine, or reflux.

The most common foods associated with allergic symptoms are:

  • Bottled lime or lemon juice
  • Shrimp
  • Pickled foods

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Food Allergies Versus Food Sensitivities

Lets talk about some more common childhood illnesses. Food allergy tests look for allergens that can trigger a powerful, profound, and fast inflammatory response and can lead to hives, lip swelling, coughing, wheezing, vomiting, and trouble breathing. True food allergies are serious and can be life-threatening. The reaction typically occurs within 15-30 minutes of exposure, or it can be delayed up to 12 hours.

In conventional pediatrics, if we suspect a child has a food allergy, we order skin prick testing or blood work looking for an elevated IgE protein to the particular food in question. If the allergy test is negative, the patient is told to continue eating the food.

Many times over the years, in my initial consultation with a patient, the parents will say, Oh, shes already had food allergy testing. Shes not allergic to any foods. Unfortunately, a negative outcome on an allergy test doesnt mean the childs diet isnt creating inflammation. Thats where an understanding of food sensitivities comes into play. Garys case will help us understand more about food sensitivities.

The complexity of testing for food reactions led me to write an entire chapter in my book on the topic. You can download the reference table I created to help illustrate the different ways we can test for food reactions. There is so much misunderstanding about this for patients and physicians.

Older Children And Adults

Common Asthma Triggers

For these individuals, the following tests may be used alongside IgE blood tests and food challenges:

  • Skin prick testing, in which tiny amounts of food allergens are placed under the skin to see if a reaction occurs
  • Elimination diets, in which foods are temporarily removed from the diet and then gradually reintroduced one-by-one to see if an allergy occurs

There are other tests used by some healthcare providers that are not recommended by the AAP or the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology . These include food IgG testing, applied kinesiology, provocation neutralization, hair analysis, and electrodermal testing. None of these have any scientific evidence to support their use in the diagnosis of a food allergy.

Always seek care from a board-certified allergist/immunologist if you are seeking the diagnosis or treatment of a severe allergy.

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About Wood Smoke And Asthma

Smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces contains a mixture of harmful gases and small particles. Breathing these small particles can cause asthma attacks and severe bronchitis, aggravate heart and lung disease and may increase the likelihood of respiratory illnesses. If you’re using a wood stove or fireplace and smell smoke in your home, it probably isn’t working as it should.

About Cockroaches Other Pests And Asthma

Droppings or body parts of cockroaches and other pests can trigger asthma. Certain proteins are found in cockroach feces and saliva and can cause allergic reactions or trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals.

Cockroaches are commonly found in crowded cities and the southern regions of the United States. Cockroach allergens likely play a significant role in asthma in many urban areas.

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Helping A Child With A Persistent Cough Runny Nose And Wheezing

Gary was four years old when his mother brought him to my Integrative Pediatric Office. Hed had a persistent cough for several months. Throughout the past two years, hed suffered from recurrent bouts of cough, runny nose, and wheezing that required an Albuterol inhaler. For the wheezing, hed taken one course of oral steroids, which he did not tolerate. His behavior became erratic, with irritability, mood swings, and sleep troubles.

At that point, his mother knew she never wanted him to take oral steroids again. She decided to switch to an integrative pediatrician . Her rationale was that the conventional medical approach aimed to control his symptoms, while her intuition was telling her his chronic cough and congestion had some underlying cause that wasnt being addressed.

Garys mother and I combed through his history. Besides the symptoms above, as an infant, he was extremely fussy and colicky. During the office visit, I observed he was a mouth breather, had a runny nose and dark, puffy circles under his eyes, and his breathing was audible . Together, these signs pointed to uncontrolled systemic inflammation.

Vitamin D In Foods And Supplements

Can Foods Trigger Asthma?

Some evidence suggests that low levels of vitamin D have links to an increased risk of asthma episodes in children and adults. It also indicates that taking a vitamin D supplement every day can significantly reduce the risk of hospital admission for a severe asthma episode.

Vitamin D may also support lung function and reduce upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold.

Vitamin D occurs naturally in , so most people in the U.S. get their dietary vitamin D from fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, yogurt, and orange juice.

Some good food sources of vitamin D include:

  • fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • mushrooms

The American Lung Association has identified several key foods, beverages, and other substances that people with asthma may wish to avoid because they may worsen the symptoms of the condition.

For example, people may wish to avoid:

  • sulfites
  • allergens, which can vary among individuals
  • fast foods, which tend to be highly processed

The following sections provide more detail about how these items can affect people with asthma.

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Dining Out With Food Allergies

If your child has one or more food allergies, dining out can be achallenge. However, it is possible to have a healthy and satisfyingdining-out experience it just takes some preparation and persistence onyour part.

The American Dietetics Association offers these tips for dealing with foodallergies when your family is eating away from home:

  • Know what ingredients are in the foods at the restaurant where you plan to eat. When possible, obtain a menu from the restaurant ahead of time and review the menu items.

  • Let your server know from the beginning about your child’s food allergy. He or she should know how each dish is prepared and what ingredients are used. Ask about preparation and ingredients before you order. If your server does not know this information or seems unsure of it, ask to speak to the manager or the chef.

  • Avoid buffet-style or family-style service, as there may be cross-contamination of foods from using the same utensils for different dishes.

  • Avoid fried foods, as the same oil may be used to fry several different foods.

Alternately, there are several types of allergy cards available on theinternet that can be customized with your child’s personal information. Oneexample is the Food Allergy Buddy Dining Card, promoted by the NationalRestaurant Association.

Food Chemicals And Additives As Asthma Triggers

Food chemicals and additives are not typically listed as allergens like the common allergens on a food label. This is because, for most people, these ingredients do not cause an allergic reaction. However, a small number of people may experience that certain food chemicals and additives trigger an allergic reaction and asthma symptoms. The more you consume the ingredient, the worse your symptoms might get. According to the Department of Health’s “Better Health” website, these are additives that could potentially cause an asthma flare-up or symptoms:1

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About Nitrogen Dioxide And Asthma

Nitrogen dioxide is an odorless gas that can irritate your eyes, nose and throat and cause shortness of breath. Indoor NO2 can come from using appliances that burn fuels such as gas, kerosene and wood.

In people with asthma, exposure to low levels of NO2 may cause increased bronchial reactivity and make young children more susceptible to respiratory infections. Long-term exposure to high levels of NO2 can lead to chronic bronchitis. Studies show a connection between breathing elevated short-term NO2concentrations, and increased visits to emergency departments and hospital admissions for respiratory issues, especially asthma.

Food Sensitivities And Allergies

Asthma Triggers Made Simple

A well-balanced diet is a core element of healthy living because it helps your body function at its best. Theres little doubt that a healthy diet has countless benefits, including promoting a healthier immune system that can help keep asthma under control.

Just as a healthy diet has benefits, there are foods and drinks that can have adverse effects on some people with asthma and should be avoided.

Did you know?

Children with both food allergies and asthma are at increased risk for severe anaphylactic reactions to foods.

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May Hurt: Too Much Food

When you eat more calories than you burn, your body stores the extra in fat cells. You can really start to pack on the pounds if you do that too much. If you become obese , you’re more likely to get asthma and it could make your symptoms worse. In addition, you may not respond as well to typical treatments like inhaled steroids that stop an asthma attack.

Food Allergies And Food

If you have a food allergy, having asthma can make allergic reactions worse. If your health care provider has said you have a food allergy, then staying away from the food is the only way to prevent problems. Visit Kids With Food Allergies for more information that applies to children as well as adults.

Mild and severe symptoms can lead to a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis . This reaction usually involves more than one part of the body and can worsen quickly. Anaphylaxis must be treated right away to provide the best chance for improvement and prevent serious, potentially life-threatening complications.

A severe food allergy reaction can cause trouble breathing. It may be hard to know if you are having a food allergy reaction or an asthma attack. Here are some ways to know the difference:

  • If you are only coughing, wheezing or having trouble breathing, and do not have any symptoms from other body systems, its probably asthma. Follow your Asthma Action Plan.
  • If you had asthma symptoms before eating food, its probably asthma. Follow your Asthma Action Plan.
  • Food allergy symptoms usually come on quickly, after you eat the food you are allergic to.
  • Severe allergic reactions involve two or more body systems. An allergic reaction may involve breathing difficulties, hives, swelling, itchy mouth and throat, nausea or vomiting. Follow your Anaphylaxis Action Plan.

If you have a food allergy, remember:

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What To Eat Then To Improve Asthma

There are some medical guidelines on what to eat to possibly help your asthma condition, or at least not to make it worse. Generally speaking, fruits and vegetables are good for your lungs as well, so they can help your asthma too. Which food and why are the best for your asthma?

  • Flavonoids:
  • citrus fruits kiwi, grapefruit, orange
  • veggies tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts
  • Beta-carotine antioxidant:
  • Caffeine bronchodilator that improves airflow:
  • coffee
  • Glutathione antioxidant:
  • avocado
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    Do You Think That Food Is Triggering Your Asthma

    Foods That Trigger An Asthma Attack â Natural Home Remedies &  Supplements

    We all enjoy a variety of foods in a variety of settings as part of a healthful lifestyle. There are numerous natural components, compounds, or other agents in the foods that we eat. For years, it has been suspected that foods or food ingredients may cause or exacerbate symptoms in those with asthma. After many years of scientific and clinical investigation, there are very few confirmed food triggers to asthma.

    Of the 10 million Americans with asthma, food triggered asthma is unusual, occurring only among 6-8% of asthmatic children and less than 2% of asthmatic adults. Patients are more likely to experience fatal food-induced anaphylaxis than asthma triggered by food.

    What are Major Triggers of Asthma?There are many factors that can trigger an asthma attack.

    Do Foods Trigger Asthma?Food triggered asthma is unusual. Although food allergies may trigger asthma in a small number of people, not all individuals with food allergies have asthma. Substantial scientific investigation has found that the following foods and food additives can trigger asthma.Diagnosed food allergens such as:

    • Milk
    • Bottled lemon or lime juice
    • Shrimp
    • Pickled foods, such as pickles, peppers, relishes or sauerkraut

    Adapted from International Food Information Council Foundation

    About Us

    The Asthma & Allergy Center was established in 1979 and has served as the Omaha area’s leading care provider specializing in Asthma & Allergies for the last 35 years.

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    Foods To Eat Lots Of During Allergy Season

    Now we get to the fun and delicious part. I love great food all year long, but come this time of year, I pay extra attention to high, high, high doses of some potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich powerhouses. My favourite way to take all these natural allergy solutions is via the blender, either in a smoothie or an elixir, as they make a delicious, refreshing drink.


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