Asthma, Allergies, and Your Food

As part of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), a recent study found a significant increase in asthma and allergy symptoms among children who ate fast food meals several times per week.

Although a link between respiratory problems and food may be surprising to some, this is a relationship that has already been recognized in Eastern Medicine for thousands of years.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the digestive system (which relates to the Earth phase) helps to support the functioning of the respiratory system (Metal phase), as previously seen in the Generating Cycle of the Five Phase theory.

This is especially true when the respiratory symptoms involve excess production of phlegm and mucous, such as wheezing and rattling of the lungs in the case of asthma, or a stuffy or runny nose associated with rhinitis.

In TCM, excess mucous is regarded as a by-product of the digestive system, so asthma and allergy treatment often focuses on strengthening the Lung and Spleen-Pancreas systems.

In addition to acupuncture and herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine can also make recommendations to assist a person in reducing their intake of phlegm and mucous-producing foods. Some of the most common trigger foods to avoid include:

  • highly refined or processed foods
  • dairy products
  • greasy or fried foods
  • sugar
  • cold-temperature products, including ice-cold beverages or frozen drinks

As we enter into the spring season, often a time of increased asthma, allergies, and other related issues, paying some extra attention to our diet can be an important step in helping our respiratory system stay healthy.

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