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Research: Asthma found to be strongly associated to unhealthy Western dietary patterns

Monday, April 15, 2013 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: asthma, processed foods, standard American diet

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(NaturalNews) Evidence is increasingly emerging that a Western diet may be a significant risk factor for asthma.

Asthma is a growing and serious health problem worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2003 asthma was responsible for 4,261 deaths, 484,000 hospitalizations, 1.2 million hospital outpatient visits and 1.9 million emergency room visits across the United States.

One of the studies providing strong support for a link between asthma and a Western diet was published in the European Respiratory Journal in 2008. French and Mexican researchers divided 54,672 French women into three separate groups, classified by their overall dietary habits: a "prudent" pattern, characterized by high intake of fruits and vegetables; a "nuts and wine" pattern, characterized by those foods; and a "Western" pattern, characterized by high intake of cured meats, pizza, desserts and salty pies.

The researchers found that participants in the "Western" group experienced significantly more asthma attacks than participants in the other groups, while participants in the "nuts and wine" group (perhaps approximating the Mediterranean diet) experienced significantly fewer.

"Overall diet could be involved in frequent asthma exacerbations, one aspect of asthma severity," the researchers concluded.

Cut out those hamburgers

This was followed by a study published in the journal Thorax in 2010, which looked at more than 50,000 children in 20 separate countries. The researchers found that among children living in wealthy countries, eating three or more hamburgers per week was associated with a significantly higher risk of developing asthma. This link was not seen in poorer countries; in all countries, however, a higher intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing asthma.

A 2013 study, published in the journal Allergy, found an even stronger effect, with children who ate one hamburger per week shown to be 75 percent more likely to suffer from asthma and twice as likely to suffer from wheezing as children who ate fewer hamburgers. Other fast foods were also linked to increased asthma risk.

Another large study, also published in 2013, looked not just at hamburgers but at a large number of foods including meat, fish, fast food, dairy products, eggs, fruits and vegetables, potatoes and various grain products. Only fast food intake was significantly associated with increased asthma risk among both younger and older children. Only consumption of fruit three or more times a week was associated with a lower risk in both age groups.

Higher fast food intake also increased the occurrence and severity of asthma symptoms in both younger and older children.

"Such consistency adds some weight to the possible causality of the relationship," the researchers wrote.

Change your diet for immediate relief

According to a 2010 study conducted by researchers from the University of Newcastle, a high-fat diet like the Western diet might not just increase your risk of developing asthma, but may actually worsen the immediate effects of the disease. Researchers assigned 40 participants to eat either a high-fat meal containing 1,000 calories (52 percent from fat) or a low-fat meal containing 200 calories (13 percent from fat).

The researchers found that immediately after the high-fat meal, participants had significantly higher levels of inflammation-triggering cells called neutrophils in their sputum than participants who had eaten the low-fat meal. In addition, three to four hours after the meal, participants in the high high-fat group were less responsive to an asthma inhaler than those in the low-fat group.

"This suggests that strategies aimed at reducing dietary fat intake may be useful in managing asthma," researcher Lisa Wood said.

Sources for this article include:






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