Many parents with asthmatic children ask what they can do to help support their children without adding more pharmaceutical drugs – especially if any activity can reduce the risk of asthma flares. The good news is that holistic care – focused on diet, supplements where needed, and acupuncture and herbs, can help asthma sufferers reduce incidences of asthma attacks.
Research has shown that nitrates and nitrites (such as those found in cured meats) and sulfates and sulfites (such as those found as preservatives in many dried fruits) are sometimes linked with worsened asthma. Removing these foods from the diets of asthmatic kids is prudent. For some children, food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) can prompt asthma attacks, so you may want to remove foods with additives from your child’s diet as well.
Because excess mucus and phlegm are typically a problem with asthmatic children, I recommend removing foods that often generate mucus such as dairy, rich fatty foods, fried foods, and any other food that you know or suspect that your child does not tolerate well. I often advise that asthmatic children use dairy alternatives such as soy, oat, or almond based products.
If you’re able to, I also recommend removing inflammatory foods from your child’s diet such as sugar, juice, white foods (such as white rice, white bread, etc.) and processed foods. Studies show that this will improve your child’s immune response, reducing the likelihood of contracting respiratory illnesses which can lead to asthma flares.
Studies have also shown that several nutrient deficiencies can be associated with worse asthmatic flares, including deficiencies of zinc, magnesium, folate, glutathione, and vitamin D. You may want to get your child tested for nutrient levels to ensure that he or she has sufficient amounts, and then take supplements or increase foods containing those nutrients if your child has any nutrient deficiencies.
Increasing activities that improve overall lung capacity are also important. These include swimming, yoga, and deep belly breathing (such as required to blow up balloons, blow out candles on a birthday cake, etc).
Last but not least, acupuncture and herbal therapy can also help to manage asthma by bolstering the immune response, reducing phlegm, reducing overall inflammation, and calming your child’s nervous system.
If you’re interested to learn more about how acupuncture and herbs may help your asthmatic child, don’t hesitate to contact me! Here’s to your child’s health!