(NaturalNews) New evidence suggests that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, probiotics and fish oil may relieve asthma in children, according to a recent study.
"A school-based, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial involving 192 asthmatic children aged 10-12 found that a supplement combining fruits, vegetables, fish oil and probiotics reduced medication use and improved pulmonary function," said a summary of the study, which was conducted by the Department of Biochemical Science and Technology, College of Life Science, National Taiwan University in Taipei.
According to researchers, the treatment group was given a fruit-and-vegetable concentrate, along with fish oil and probiotics (FVFP supplement), which are bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of microflora in your intestines. A control group, meanwhile, was given a placebo.
Participants were evaluated at the start, then at eight and 16 weeks.
Fast food 'may be behind the steady surge in children's asthma'
"Results showed the treatment group experienced significant improvement in pulmonary function parameters and had a significantly reduced proportion of those using short-acting inhaled bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids, in comparison to the placebo group," said the summary. "Results suggest that FVFP supplements may reduce medication use and improve pulmonary function in asthmatic children."
The results of the study, which was titled, "Reduced medication use and improved pulmonary function with supplements containing vegetable and fruit concentrate, fish oil and probiotics in asthmatic school children: a randomized controlled trial," were supported by other medical experts.
By comparison, separate studies have shown that other types of foods may increase the incidence of childhood asthma, which can be deadly.
Scientists from New Zealand, Spain, Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom found that a diet of fast food and other foods with little nutritional value "may be behind the steady surge in children's asthmas affecting the UK and other developed countries," Britain's The Guardian newspaper reported Jan. 14.
The international collaboration of scientists found that younger teens in particular were 40 percent more likely to develop severe asthma if they eat burgers and other fast foods like fries more than three times a week. They said kids aged six to seven were 27 percent more likely to develop asthma if they ate fast food that often.
Meanwhile, researchers said children who ate larger amounts of fast food were also much more likely to develop severe eczema and rhinitis, a condition where the nose gets stopped up or runs excessively and their eyes are itchy and watery.
Researchers said the results could have "major public health significance owing to the rising consumption of fast foods globally," if the link they have found turns out to be causal, not coincidental.
Fast food is the only type associated with development of asthma and allergies
As in the Taiwan University study, eating fruit appeared to protect children and young teens from developing asthma and other allergies. The international research coalition found that eating three or more portions of fruit per week cut the severity of symptoms by 11 percent among teens and 14 percent among younger kids.
The team's results were published in the peer-reviewed journal Thorax, which is part of the BMJ (British Medical Journal) Group. They "came out of a large collaborative project called the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), which involves nearly two million children in more than 100 countries, making it the biggest of its kind," The Guardian reported.
The study involved a relatively small portion of the total number of children taking part in ISAAC, from two age groups: 319,000 13 to 14-year-olds from 51 countries and 181,000 six to seven-year-olds from 31 countries.
Fast food (the authors specifically mentioned burgers only; however, because that is the reference to fast food most people are familiar with) was the only type of food that has been associated with the development of asthma and allergies, across all age ranges and in all involved countries, the study said.