While most people are aware that asthma attacks can be brought about by pollutants such as auto emissions, cigarette smoke, and smog, as well as typical allergens, including dust mites and animal dander, many don’t realize that food allergies can also play a role.
The fact is 10 to 15 percent of all asthma attacks are food related, with dairy, eggs, wheat, and peanuts being the biggest offenders. Dairy products are particularly aggravating, due to the rich store of arachidonic acid, which can greatly worsen the swelling that occurs during asthma attacks, and increase mucus production.
Additionally, processed foods have been found to trigger asthma symptoms, thanks to an overabundance of additives and preservatives, including sulfites, artificial colors and flavors, MSG, and sulfur dioxide. And now researchers are finding that polyunsaturated fats may be contributing to the problem.
Researchers at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, surveyed the eating habits of 974 children aged three to five years old to determine potential risk factors for asthma. Twenty-two percent of the children in the group already had asthma. Researchers determined that 17 percent of the asthma cases were a direct result of consuming margarine and foods fried in polyunsaturated vegetable oils.
The moral of the story? Keep a food diary to determine which foods are triggering asthma symptoms in you or your child. Also, avoid processed and fried foods, as well as those with polyunsaturated fats. Instead, opt for olive, macadamia, or sesame oils.