Being overweight increases the risk for asthma in children

THE number of asthmatics worldwide has been on the increase in the last couple of decades. It is a health condition that warrants attention as it can be fatal.

There is no miracle diet or supplement that can cure asthma per se as it has several attributing factors such as genetics and environmental exposures.

However, personal lifestyle habits and choices can do more harm than good to an already existing condition.

Here are some things you can do to manage your condition.


Being overweight increases the risk for asthma in children and adults. Take a hard honest look at your current eating habits.

Look into tackling those habits that keep you overweight, especially if it means feeling better in the long run.

Take a good look at the food you buy and consume. Start by chucking out all the junk food that have no nutrition value.

Tidbits, sweetened drinks, cookies, cakes, salty snacks, and grease laden processed foods can all be easily replaced with healthier real food that is nutritious. Do see a dietitian who can help you get out of your diet rut.

Go back to the basics of eating natural whole foods such as grains, lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and dairy.

Researchers note that there is a lower rate of asthma in people who eat healthier diets higher in nutrients such as vitamins C and E, beta carotene (which is a precursor of vitamin A), selenium, magnesium and Omega-3 healthy fat.

Burn off more calories by making a conscientious habit of becoming more active. Moving your body to burn additional calories is so much more effective than a strict diet alone.

Walk around to do errands, do more housework, go for regular walks, swim at your condo pool, take the stairs instead of the lift, wash your own car or take your dog for a walk.

Once you build your strength and stamina, embark on making regular exercise a part of your new lighter and fitter self.

People with asthma also tend to have gastroesophageal refluxdisorder (GERD), which is a reflux of stomach acid. This can aggravate your asthma. Losing weight will help you to control GERD as well.

The portion of your food should be moderate. Never overeat as this will cause you to feel uncomfortably full.

Use this handy tip to determine the right portion the next time you eat: Fill a quarter of your plate with rice, a quarter with a protein such as meat, eggs or beans and the remainder with vegetables.

Buffets and food promotions may seem like value for money since the key word is “all you can eat” for a set amount of money.

However, it’s going to be very difficult to control the amount of food you eat as it is human nature to feel that you have to eat your money’s worth. Avoid buffets and stick with a la carte instead to avoid overeating.


Asthmatics tend to be hypersensitive to certain food additives. Sulphite is one such example. It is used in food processing to stop the growth of mould and is found in common foods such as sausages and cordials.

If you suspect a sensitivity or an allergy to a particular food additive, it is best to seek the attention of a doctor, specifically one who specialises in allergies so that a proper diagnosis can be made.

Keep a food diary to jot down all the foods and drinks you consume daily. If a specific food or meal causes a reaction, make note of it.

Eventually, you will see a pattern emerging of how you feel after eating a certain meal. You can try to eliminate that offensive food product from your diet temporarily to see if asthma symptoms improve. Then reintroduce it slowly to your diet to see whether you experience another reaction.

Once foods with offensive food additives have been identified, consulting a dietitian will help you plan your diet so that you don’t miss out on vital nutrients while eliminating certain foods.

Table showing additives in everyday food products

A consultant dietitian who believes in simple practical ways to eating well and living healthy. She can be reached at

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