Eating lots of fruits and vegetables may help reduce asthma symptoms, according to a recent study. But if you're one of the 25 million Americans with the breathing disorder, the take-away message is not that you should rely solely on dietary improvements.
"One of the dangers here is that people pick up this headline and say, well, I don't need to take my medicine anymore, I can just eat fruits and vegetables," cautions Dr. Marc Riedl, UCLA associate clinical professor of immunology and allergy. "It may help; I'm not saying there's no effect. There probably is, based on this paper, but it's not a substitute for many people who need to take some sort of anti-inflammatory medication for their asthma."
Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the Australian study divided adults into two groups. One ate a low-antioxidant diet, while the other ate a high-antioxidant diet, including five servings of vegetables and two fruit portions each day for two weeks. At the end of the testing period, people in the high-antioxidant group had better lung function and less breathing problems than those in the other group.
The researchers concluded: "Improvements were evident only after increased fruit and vegetable intake, which suggests that whole-food interventions are most effective."
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