Food may alleviate or prevent asthmatic attacks by helping control underlying inflammation of air passages, by dilating air passages, by thinning down mucus in the lungs, and by avoiding food allergy reactions that trigger asthma attacks.
Onions contain at least 2 natural anti-inflammatory drugs. Dr. Walter Dorsch of Johannes-Guttenberg University claimed that an an onion component, diphenylthiosulfinate, has higher anti-inflammatory activity than the drug prednisolone. Onions also have direct anti-asthmatic effects. In an experiment, guinea pigs were made to inhale histamine, the chemical that induces asthmatic symptoms. Histamine response jumped 300%. However, when the animals were also fed onion extract, their histamine response decreased as well as the risk of asthmatic attack. With human, their bronchial asthma attacks were found to drop 50%.
Onion also has another powerful anti-inflammatory agent - quercetin, which seem to stabilise membranes of cells that release histamine.
Dr. Schwartz analysis of the diets of 9,000 adults showed that those who ate the most vitamin C packed food have less complaints from asthma or bronchitis. Dr. Schwartz attribute Vitamin C anti-asthmatic effects to its antioxidant activity which neutralize oxygen free radicals that may stimulate inflammation, its acceleration of histamin metabolism and its effect on prostaglandins that help control inflammation.
To get immediate relief, eat hot, pungent foods like hot chili pepper, mustard, garlic and onions. Irwin Ziment, M.D. of UCLA says that such foods have mucus moving (mucokinetic) activity and thins out viscous mucus that would otherwise pug up the small airways. Hot, pungent food stimulate nerve endings in the digestive tracts and cause a release of watery fluids in the mouth, throat and lungs which help thin down the mucus. Furthermore, capsaicin in chili peppers has anti-inflammatory activity and act as a bronchodilator.
Try also caffeine. Harvard researcher Scott T. Weiss, M.D., who analyzed government health data on 20,000 Americans, found that regular coffee drinkers had about 30% less asthma symptoms than non-coffee drinkers. Caffein breaks down in the body into other compounds including theophylline which relazes the muscles surrounding the bronchial tubes.
Now, the negatives. Eat less or no meat, diary products, and more fruits and vegetables. In a study of 25 asthma patients, 71% improved after 4 months without meat and diary products; after 1 year 92% had improved.