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Do you suffer from the wheezing, chest pain and shortness of breath that comes with asthma? Do you live with the fear that at any minute, you’ll have another attack?
If so, you’re not alone. Asthma affects around one in ten people in the western world – people just like you who have to deal with the daily anxiety, difficulty breathing and frequent respiratory infections that are part of the disease.
Like most asthma sufferers, you probably rely on daily medicine to control your asthma symptoms, but new research is offering a better, more natural way to take control of your asthma than those prescription drugs and their side effects…
Big improvement for asthma sufferers
Although there is increasing evidence that asthma patients who are obese can benefit from a better diet and increased exercise, researchers from Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark wanted to see if non-obese patients with asthma could also benefit.
The team worked with a group of 149 patients who were randomly assigned to one of four groups.
One group was asked to follow a diet that was high in protein and with a low glycemic index (low GI). A low GI diet is one that maintains the right levels of sugar in the blood. They were also asked to eat at least six portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
Another group took part in exercise classes three times a week at hospital. These classes included bursts of high intensity activity designed to raise the heartrate, interspersed with more gentle activity
The third group took part in both exercise and diet, while the remaining control group did neither.
The researchers questioned the patients about their symptoms and about their quality of life, as well as testing their fitness, and the strength and output of their lungs.
Although they did not find definite improvement in patients’ lung function, they did find that the combination of diet and exercise improved both symptom control and patients’ quality of life, as well as improving their level of fitness.
In fact, those who took part in the exercise and followed the diet scored their asthma symptoms 50% better compared to the control group.
Your natural asthma prescription
So, if you’ve been avoiding exercise because you’re afraid it will make your asthma symptoms worse, it turns out the opposite is true, especially when you combine it with a healthy diet plan.
To follow the successful plan used by the patients in Denmark, you’ll want take two simple steps:
- Eat a low-glycemic diet – Include plenty of complex carbohydrates in your diet, while avoiding simple carbs like sugar, desserts, processed grains, candy, jam, soda, etc. Examples of food you should be eating are:
- Beans and legumes – Eat about ½ cup at a time and be sure they have been pre-soaked to help with digestion.
- Yogurt – Choose unsweetened, whole organic yogurt whenever possible.
- Non-starchy veggies – Try to include these with every meal, especially all types of lettuce and leafy greens, broccoli, spinach, onion, green beans, artichokes, peppers, and others.
- Fruits – Choose low glycemic fruits, like apples, cherries, berries and citrus fruits.
- Protein – Wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef and free-range poultry and eggs are your best sources of protein.
- Exercise smart – In the study, participants used high-intensity interval training or HIIT. To do HIIT, warm up for 3 minutes. Then exercise at full-force for 20-30 seconds followed by a gentle activity level, like walking for 60-90 seconds while catching your breath and repeat. Aim for 10x through, if possible.
You can do HIIT on an elliptical machine or exercise bike, with a jump rope or kettlebell or just by running or doing jumping jacks.
Don’t let your asthma symptoms leave you anxious and wondering when your next attack will be. Eat right and exercise smart to improve your symptoms and your quality of life.
- Asthma symptoms can be improved by diet and exercise in non-obese patients — European Lung Foundation