Best and Worst Foods for your Lungs

Olivia Martin

Article Summary

Author: Amanda Gardner

Source: Health.com

Publication date: September 22nd, 2015

Research has not shown to be definitive, but there are foods to potentially relieve asthma or at least not make it worse. According to a British study, those that ate two-five apples a week had a 32% less chance of asthma than those who ate less. It is believed that a compound known as khellin is responsible since it is known to open up airways in the lungs. Cantaloupe is another beneficial food because it contains a lot of the antioxidant, vitamin C. A study conducted on preschool children in Japan concluded that those with a higher intake of vitamin C suffered less from asthma than those with a lower intake. Carrots also reduce exercise-induced asthma because of the beta-carotene in carrots that is converted into vitamin A in the body. Although caffeine can affect health in good and bad ways, it is a bronchodilator that may improve airflow according to Dr. Graham. Constriction of the bronchi is what triggers an asthma attacks and flax seeds contain magnesium which relaxes the muscles surrounding the bronchi. Flax seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids which have a beneficial effect on asthma, but research is still precursory. Garlic also has anti-inflammatory properties and contains allicin, a powerful antioxidant that might help asthma. Milk is mixed on whether or not it can aid asthma but it contains vitamin D which can relieve asthma symptoms.

There are also some foods that should be avoided if someone is suffering from asthma. Eggs and shellfish should be avoided because along with other allergic reactions, they can also manifest in asthma. Peanuts are also no good for people with asthma. One study found that children with asthma who also had a peanut allergy seemed to develop asthma earlier than kids without asthma and were also more likely to be hospitalized. Salt can contribute to inflammation by causing fluid retention. Wine also has mixed results. It can contribute to asthma attacks because the presence of sulfites. However, studies had concluded found less asthma and less severe asthma in people who drank red wine.

Article Critique

I did some research on the author of the article Amanda Gardner and found that she is a freelance writer and researcher. She was a stem-cell fellow at Tulane University School of Public Health. She holds a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies from the Union Institute and a master's degree from New York University. She writes multiple health-related articles on many different platforms. Information I found on Gardner didn't validate to me whether or not she knew enough about the subject to write about it. This particular article she wrote for Health.com is a slideshow displaying informal information regarding foods that should be eaten or avoided if someone suffers from asthma.

The first sentence of the article states that the following information "might be true" and that research about it is "far from definitive". If I was an individual who had asthma and was looking for ways to relieve my symptoms, I probably wouldn't even read any further into this article after the first sentence. A lot of the information from this article is non-conclusive or there might be other reasons for the outcomes of the mentioned studies. For example, the article states that a study in Japan of preschool children found that those who consumed more vitamin C than those who who didn't consume as much were less likely to suffer from asthma. The article may be misleading because it doesn't contain any more supporting evidence from the study. Also, the study was conducted on preschool-age children and those individuals may be unaware if they have asthma because they might not have been triggered yet. They are so young and not everyone is diagnosed with asthma during childhood.

While talking about caffeine, Gardner states that it is a bronchodilator and according to Dr. Graham "may improve airflow". The article doesn't go into the mechanics of how it can improve airflow and the the fact that Dr. Graham says it "may" improve airflow makes me weary about if that statement is true or not.

Also, the article states that milk and wine have mixed results when it comes to benefiting or hurting someone with asthma, and with Gardner being unsure, I think that she should have left these items out of the article. Gardner contradicts herself by stating that wine can be harmful because of the silfites but then also states that studies have found less asthma/less severe asthma in people that drink red wine.

Overall, this article is very simple and doesn't relinquish a lot of helpful information. it states the what but not the why and isn't based on concrete scientific evidence. I recommend looking at http://asthmaandallergies.org/asthma-allergies/adult-onset-asthma/ for helpful and scientific information on asthma and control products.

Sources

Adult Onset Asthma | Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America New England Chapter. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://asthmaandallergies.org/asthma-allergies/adult-onset-asthma/


Gardner, A. (2015). 13 Best and Worst Foods for Your Lungs. Simple Steps to a Healthier You. Retrieved from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20672020,00.html


News. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://news.wisc.edu/healthday-writer-named-biomedical-writer-in-residence/