Saturday, June 4, 2011

Natural Methods to manage Asthma

Spring is here and along with the marvels of blooming trees, sprouting flowers and outdoor activity, comes the problems such as pollen and hayfever which can irritate the sensitive airways of those who are prone to asthma.  Along with your doctor's recommendations, what can you do to help yourself and lessen the discomfort that many experience?

This article will focus on some of the natural means of managing asthma.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a  chronic reactive airway disease that affects the breathing passages and surrounding muscles in the lungs.  When an environmental trigger enter the airways, they react by constricting and secreting mucus thus beginning inflammation.  Breathing becomes difficult, the chest tightens, the person may assume certain position to aid in breathing.  Coughing, wheezing and congestion also result. Normal activities are severely hindered.  Environmental triggers include smoking, dust, animal hair and dander, mold and pollen.

Conventional medicine includes proventil inhalers, steroids and nebulization treatments for management.  Even with such forms of treatment, the disease continues to spiral out of control. What help is available?

Helping yourself

The first step to take in health is to strengthen the immune system.  This can begin by eating whole foods and boost the digestive process.  It has been noted that many asthmatics have GERD.  Once treated, asthma often improves.

To clean up the food act, one should eliminate milk and milk products and seek other sources of calcium.  Eat organically grown fruits and vegetables.  Eliminate fried foods which are sources of trans fatty acids. Instead, prepare foods with olive oil and oven fry foods. White flour is also a no-no.

Drinking plenty of water is important to flush out toxins and mucus.  Avoid sugary soft drinks like soda and juice drinks which are full of artificial coloring and flavors which are known to initiate asthma attacks in many sensitive folks. Drink juices like grapefruit juice, pomegranate juice.  Limit the serving size amounts to 4 ounces.

Avoid MSG like the plague.  It has long been suspected of causing asthma attacks.  This can be quite a challenge though because it is masqueraded in foods under many different names.  (See MSG information in the article "MSG and your health")

Exercise is important in strengthening the lungs and oxygenating them.  The activity also helps in breaking up mucus.  Get your doctor's okay first though.

Whole foods and vegetables

The next step involves now replacing the bad food choices with the important nutrients and materials that will build and maintain health. Those raw materials include wholesome foods that are full of vitamins and minerals that will build healthy, strong lungs and body.   

Vitamin A is necessary in strengthening the mucus membranes. This is important due to the nature of this disease. Foods that are high in vitamin A include: red peppers, cod, cayenne, sweet potatos, carrots and butter nut squash. Be creative in meal preparation! There are so many recipes that  can be used in preparation of healthful and therapeutic meals  for those with this disease.  But remember, do not  over cook the foods so as to retain as much nutritional value as possible. Eat the food soon after purchasing it to retain nutrients whose content in food diminishes over time. As much as practical, try to eat food in the raw state. The diet should  also be full of  foods that grow instead of highly processed ones. Try to select organic and local grown vegetables again to aid in nutrientient rete.

Foods high in B6 are also important in asthma. Such foods include garlic (which is greatly known for helping in many other diseases such as high blood pressure and cholesterol control) spinach, tuna, cod and bananas.

Also important in asthma control is EFA through supplementation wtih omega 3 fatty acids.  (Again, you will find that other conditions will improve.  EFAs are important in cholesterol control, depression and cardiovascular health).  This is available in fish liver oils, and olive oil, to name two.

In summary

This is a winning treatment plan for conquering asthma.  If you are diligent and patient, your work will pay off.
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