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Asthma is the most common chronic respiratory disease in the world, and there's no cure for it. The condition causes chest tightness, wheezing, and severe difficulty breathing. Inhalers are the current go-to treatment in the face of an asthma attack, but people with asthma could reduce the likelihood of these attacks by reducing triggers and making dietary changes.

In addition to various breathing techniques, complementary therapy includes using natural products. These products should always be combined with bronchodilator meds and cleared with your doctor.

Ginger

Ginger's phenolic compounds have anti-inflammatory properties and relax airway smooth muscle (ASM). Ginger is bronchodilating, and its polysaccharides may reduce coughing time and the length of time a person needs to be on a mechanical ventilator. In a 2020 study, ginger's bioactive component reduced allergic lung inflammation in mice.

Brew a cup of tea with fresh ginger root, or experiment with incorporating the herb into cooking.

Warming tea with honey, lemon and ginger gpointstudio/ Getty Images

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Mustard Oil

You can use mustard seeds as a spice in cooking or heat mustard oil for applying to the chest. Topical application with one tablespoon of warm oil may reduce inflammation and provide relief, but further studies are needed to prove the benefits. Doing a patch test is always a good idea. It's worth noting that some individuals may be allergic to mustard and that pure mustard oil is banned in North America and Europe.

Oil of mustard in a small jar 5PH/ Getty Images

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Figs

Figs have long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat respiratory issues and eliminate phlegm. Rinse three dried figs before soaking them overnight in a small covered bowl with a bit of water. Consume the softened fruit in the morning on an empty stomach, and drink the water too.

Be aware that the sulfites in dried fruits can cause adverse reactions, so you may want to opt for fresh figs.

Close-up of figs on wooden table Jenish Pansuriya / 500px / Getty Images

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Garlic

Asthma is an inflammatory condition. Garlic is anti-inflammatory and has antiasthmatic properties. In a 2019 study on allergen-induced airway inflammation in mice, garlic extracts lowered inflammatory cell counts, but more research is required. Incorporating fresh garlic while cooking may be of benefit, but bear in mind that garlic can cause gas, which might put pressure on the diaphragm and affect breathing.

Woman using a knife and her hands to peel fresh garlic cloves. Lucy Lambriex/ Getty Images

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Coffee

Good news for coffee drinkers. Caffeine can improve airway function for approximately two to four hours after consumption. The drug's similarity to theophylline, a bronchodilator, means that it has potential for people with asthma, even if a morning cup of joe isn't as potent or fast-acting as a rescue inhaler.

Try to avoid caffeine for four hours before a lung function test, or the benefits of this compound could make the test results inaccurate.

Cup of coffee with smoke and coffee beans on old wooden background Filmstax/ Getty Images

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Probiotics

Evidence suggests a link between asthma and the gut microbiome. Eating foods that promote beneficial gut bacteria may ease some asthma symptoms by reducing airway inflammation. Probiotics include fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut, as well as kefir and kombucha.

Wherever possible, aim to get probiotics from your diet rather than supplements.

Homemade fermented raw kombucha tea with different flavorings. Healthy natural probiotic flavored drink. sveta_zarzamora/ Getty Images

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Vitamins D

Low vitamin D levels are connected to an increased asthma attack risk. Getting enough vitamin D can mean better protection against acute respiratory infections and less reliance on systemic corticosteroids. You can get vitamin D from eggs, salmon, OJ, or exposure to the sun, or you can take a supplement in the short term.

Composition with products rich in vitamin D Jane Vershinin/ Getty Images

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Vitamin E

A compound called tocopherol in vitamin E can reduce asthma symptoms such as wheezing. Vitamin E may also result in lower levels of mucin, which makes mucus less sticky, so it becomes easier to expel from the body.

A vitamin E supplement to reduce ozone-induced bronchoconstriction may be helpful, but including foods like almonds, hazelnuts, Swiss chard, and kale in dishes and salads sounds more delicious.

Foods rich in vitamin E piotr_malczyk/ Getty Images

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Turmeric

Curcumin, the primary compound in turmeric, is another mainstay in Eastern medicine. This root herb has anti-inflammatory effects, and curcumin, specifically, becomes more bioavailable when the golden spice is accompanied by piperine in black pepper. Turmeric can lead to less obstruction of the airways and better airflow in the lungs.

Fresh turmeric roots and turmeric powder in a wooden bowl on rustic wood SilviaJansen/ Getty Images

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Omega-3 Oils, not Omega-6

Including more omega-3 fatty acids in a diet leads to fewer indoor air pollution-related asthma symptoms. However, omega-6s can have the opposite effect. So, eating more salmon is valuable, as is cutting down on, for example, corn oil.

Healthy fats in nutrition - salmon, avocado, oil, nuts. Concept of healthy food Roxiller/ Getty Images

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Flaxseeds and chia seeds

In the quest for natural asthma relief, don't overlook the power of flaxseeds and chia seeds. These tiny seeds pack a hefty dose of omega-3 fatty acids, known for their anti-inflammatory properties Omega 3 fatty acids had been found beneficial for managing asthma symptoms in some research studies. Incorporating these seeds into your diet is simple and versatile: sprinkle them over your morning oatmeal, blend into smoothies, or mix into yogurt. Their nutty flavor and nutritional benefits make them an excellent addition to any meal, offering a plant-based method to potentially ease the inflammation that characterizes asthma.

Healthy chia and flaxseed seeds. Linum usitatissimum - Salvia hispanica

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Magnesium-rich nuts and seeds

Magnesium has been spotlighted for its potential to ease asthma symptoms, thanks to its muscle-relaxing properties that may help open up the airways. Nuts like almonds and peanuts, along with seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower, are excellent sources of this vital mineral. Snacking on these magnesium-rich foods or incorporating them into your meals could offer a natural way to support respiratory health. While they're no substitute for medical treatment, they could serve as a complementary approach to an asthma-friendly diet. Magnesium helps make breathing a bit easier and more comfortable.

Various seeds , nuts seeds , pumpkin seeds and varies in glass jar

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Honey

Honey has long been cherished for its soothing effects on the throat, making it a popular home remedy for coughing associated with asthma. A spoonful of honey can help coat the throat, offering temporary relief from coughing spells. However, it's important to use honey with caution, especially in individuals with a known allergy to it. Always consult with a healthcare provider before introducing new remedies into your regimen. Do not give honey to children under one-year-old due to the risk of botulism. Despite these precautions, honey's natural sweetness and comforting texture make it a favored choice for many seeking relief from coughing.

Honey dripping from honey dipper in wooden bowl. Close-up. Healthy organic Thick honey dipping from the wooden honey spoon, closeup.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.