Wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. While we’ve all experienced them; chronic breathing issues can wreak havoc on our lives and wellbeing. It may surprise you to know that certain foods can tax our respiratory symptoms, leading to even worse allergy, asthma, and COPD symptoms. In fact, the foods listed below may cause excess phlegm production or be triggers for asthma.
Learning about what foods may be harmful to our ability to breathe (as well as helpful foods that can aid our respiratory system), can prevent breathing difficulties and improve quality of life:
This versatile liquid derived from animals (mainly cows) is found in many different dishes and recipes. Milk is very high on the list of the foods that cause food allergies or create excess mucus in the body. If you already have issues with allergies or asthma symptoms, cow’s milk may be a trigger that makes them even worse.
This is another popular food item that has been linked to allergies and other respiratory problems. The food itself is not nearly as bad as corn syrup, which is derived from corn and used in a variety of foodstuffs that we consume (i.e., candy, cakes, soda, bread, and many frozen snacks and even canned sauces). Corn syrup has been linked to obesity and diabetes, which can indirectly affect the respiratory system.
3. Excess salt or sugar
Studies suggest that too much salt or sugar in the diet can increase inflammation, lead to obesity, and thus cause shortness of breath. It is not clear if there is a direct link between salt and sugar and respiratory challenges, but these two substances definitely have a supporting role in making it much more difficult to breathe.
4. Preservatives and additives
Preservatives can impair the breathing process, particularly in people already suffering from bronchitis, asthma, or COPD. Two especially harmful preservatives are sulfites and nitrites, which are found in foods such as molasses, dehydrated potatoes, and many types of pork. It would be prudent to cut back on foods known to have these preservatives and additives, in order to preserve your lungs and your entire respiratory system.
5. Cruciferous vegetables
We all know that vegetables are good for you, but some, like cabbage, are known to cause gas and bloating, which can make breathing difficult for people who already have respiratory challenges. You may need to limit your intake of these foods, which, in addition to cabbage, include broccoli, cauliflower, and radishes.
Making a few simple changes in your diet is all that is necessary to reduce breathing and respiratory challenges in mild cases. For example, instead of drinking regular milk, you could opt for coconut, almond, or soy milk. Rather than drinking soda or sugary drinks high in fructose or corn syrup, opt for sparkling or flavored water using freshly squeezed lemon or berries and no added sugar. Finally, wherever possible, eat organic foods, especially meat. After just a few weeks of such changes, you may notice a clear difference in your breathing and overall health that will benefit you for many years to come.