Trigger Foods for Asthma

Asthma is a common ailment that affects nearly one in thirteen people in the United States, according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC). Despite this adding up to over 25 million Americans with asthma, the symptoms of asthma are not always well known. Patients with asthma often experience shortness of breath, tightness in the chest and throat, and even full blown asthma attacks where they are unable to breathe. 

An asthma attack occurs when the airways become inflamed and swells up—making it difficult or even impossible to get air through. In addition to swelling, most patients also experience increased mucus buildup in the airways. Fortunately, there are life saving medications in the form of rescue inhalers that can help reduce swelling and inflammation almost immediately. There is also a variety of daily medication options available for asthma sufferers to help reduce the chances of a full-blown asthma attack.

Most patients are aware that asthma may be triggered by certain perfumes, chemicals or activities but most people may find it surprising that asthma symptoms can also be triggered by certain foods. Studies show that common foods, like these, can trigger asthma symptoms: 

1. Milk
Milk allergies and intolerances are quite common in the United States. Milk can cause an increase of mucus in the sinuses. For most people this is not an issue. For some asthma sufferers however, this increased mucus production can trigger an asthma attack and further narrow the airways, making it more difficult to breathe.

2. Eggs
People who suffer from egg allergies can break out in hives when exposed to eggs. Hives are swollen, pale red bumps that break out on the skin when exposed to irritants. Asthma sufferers who have even a mild egg allergy should be aware that a reaction to eggs can also lead to an asthma attack.

3. Nuts
Nut allergies are becoming increasingly common in the United States. Nut allergies can be very serious and those who have sensitivities to nuts ought to be very careful to avoid nuts and products that contain nuts. Because nut allergies have the potential to have such serious consequences such as anaphylactic shock, anyone with asthma needs to take extra precautions. Even those who may only have a mild reaction to nuts need to be hyper aware of the fact that nuts can trigger an asthma attack.

4. Soy
Soy is a well-known alternative to milk products for anyone who is lactose intolerant. However, like most foods, there are people who are allergic to soy. Soybeans are part of the legume family, so it is important to keep in mind that anyone who has legume sensitivities could develop problems with soy. Research has also shown a strong correlation between those diagnosed with asthma developing a soy allergy. As with any allergic reaction, soy can aggravate asthma symptoms.

5. Wheat
Many people may be surprised to discover that even wheat sensitivity can trigger asthma symptoms. While wheat allergies may be less common than with other foods, it can still have negative effects on anyone with this allergy. With a wheat or gluten allergy, the body sends antibodies to attack its own immune system which can in turn trigger an asthma attack.

6. Shellfish
Shellfish is a food that, similar to nuts, can cause anaphylactic shock. Because anaphylactic shock causes problems breathing and causes the airways to swell up, it easily aggravates a preexisting asthma condition.

Asthma is a very treatable but potentially serious condition. Most patients with asthma can control it quite easily with proper care and medication. That being said, as with any medical condition it is important to take proper steps to stay safe and healthy. Those with asthma and shellfish or nut allergies have to use extreme caution with their allergies because asthma can make anaphylactic shock potentially fatal.