Best Fruits For Asthma


Best Fruits For Asthma are delicious and healthy and are the best part of any meal. And not just that, they have a number of health benefits. But not all fruits are equal when it comes to improving your local air quality. So what are the best fruits for asthma? We tell you!

8 Foods That May Help Relieve Asthma Symptoms

Can diet help your asthma? Research suggests eating an overall healthy, balanced diet can help. These foods are part of that diet.

woman holding pomegranate

Pomegranates are high in antioxidants, which may help quell the inflammation linked to asthma.

While there’s no magic-bullet food to cure asthma, making some changes in your diet may help reduce or control asthma symptoms.

In general, a healthy, varied diet plan is beneficial with asthma, says Holly Prehn, RD, a certified nutrition support clinician at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver. 

According to a review about the role of food in asthma management published in November 2017 in Nutrients, there is evidence that a traditional Western diet — which is high in refined grains, red meat, processed meat, and sweets — can increase inflammation and worsen asthma symptoms, while a diet filled with more fruits and vegetables can positively impact both asthma risk and control.

“Diets rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (particularly omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA]), and lower in added sugars and processed and red meats tend to be better for asthma management,” says Kelly Jones, RD, CSSD, owner of Kelly Jones Nutrition based in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

The Mediterranean diet, one based on eating plenty of healthy fats (like olive oil), fish, whole grains, and fruit, fits the bill, she says. And there is some preliminary evidence to suggest that following this diet may indeed be linked to lower rates of asthma, according to a study of Peruvian children published in the December 2015 issue of Lung.

It’s worth noting that certain foods may also worsen your symptoms. Elizabeth Secord, MD, a pediatrician with a specialty in allergy and immunology at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, recommends keeping a food log to better understand the link between your diet and your symptoms. For example, you might notice that spicy foods trigger reflux symptoms similar to asthma symptoms.

Your Everyday Guide to Living Well With Asthma

Finally, when talking about diet and asthma, being overweight or obese should be part of the conversation, Dr. Secord says. Some data, for instance, suggests people who are obese may not respond as well to standard dosing for asthma treatment, according to a review published in November 2014 in Experimental Biology and Medicine.

There is evidence, according to the Nutrients review, that obesity is linked to worse asthma outcomes, and there is preliminary evidence that for people with asthma who are overweight or obese, losing weight might help lessen asthma symptoms. Research published in January 2015 in Annals of the American Thoracic Society found moderately and severely obese adults with uncontrolled asthma who lost 10 percent or more of their body weight saw significantly improvements in asthma control.

And remember, while dietary changes can help you manage asthma symptoms and may lessen the severity of symptoms you have, no diet should substitute for medications or other treatment your doctor has prescribed to help manage your asthma. Dietary changes alone cannot cure or reverse asthma. So what should you eat? Read on for eight specific foods to include in an asthma-friendly diet. 


Apples and Oranges

apples and oranges in a bowl

If you’re looking to alleviate asthma symptoms, start by adding more fruit to your diet, Prehn says. Fruit is a good source of beta carotene and vitamins C and E, which can reduce inflammation and swelling in the lungs, according to Mayo Clinic.

The 2017 Nutrients review noted the reason that fruit has this effect isn’t known, but it seems apples and citrus fruits (including oranges) specifically have been shown to decrease asthma risk and symptoms. Eating two servings of fruit (plus five or more servings of vegetables) per day for two weeks led to better asthma control than consuming fewer servings, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.



salmon over asparagus

When it comes to asthma, not all fat is created equal. Jones says monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, can be helpful. For example, kids who ate more butter and fast food were also more likely to have asthma, according to a September 2015 study in BMC Public Health.

Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, are associated with a reduction in inflammation in people with asthma, according to a study published in January 2015 Allergology International. And fatty fish, like salmon, is chock full of good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids.

“Fatty fish does have an anti-inflammatory role due to the omega-3 EPA content,” Jones says. EPA, one type of omega-3, has an edge over the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), another type of omega-3 found in some plant-based sources, such as walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds. The body must convert ALA into to EPA and often does not do so efficiently, she says.

Plus, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), salmon is one of the best sources of vitamin D, with 71 percent of your daily value in a 3-ounce serving. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), maintaining vitamin D levels may help with asthma symptoms.



dried beans in a bowl

A healthy gut microbiome could go a long way in reducing asthma and other autoimmune disorders. There is evidence that high-fiber foods promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria associated with lower risk of inflammatory disorders, including asthma, according to a review published in the May 2016 issue of Clinical and Translational Immunology.

Since beans contain prebiotics, or the “food” your gut bacteria needs to thrive, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recommends eating ½ cup every day. 



ginger root

Ginger can do more than quell an upset stomach — it may also help relieve asthma symptoms. That’s because certain components in ginger might help relax the airways, according to a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.

Karen Smith, RD, CDCES, a registered dietitian and diabetes expert with the Physicians Committee and Barnard Medical Center in Washington, DC, recommends adding some fresh ginger root to a vegetable stir-fry served over wild rice. This way, you’ll get the benefits of ginger and the nutrients and fiber from rice, she says.



turmeric in a bowl

Famous for its bright yellow hue, turmeric is a staple of Indian cuisine and has been widely used in traditional Chinese and East Asian medicine traditions for respiratory and other disorders, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family.

Research suggests turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, may help quell the inflammation in asthmatic airways, according to a study done in mice and published in the journal Inflammation. Though NCCIH notes more evidence is needed to conclusively determine the potential health benefits of turmeric.



spinach in a colander

Leafy greens like spinach are packed with vitamins and minerals, but they also contain folate (a B vitamin), according to the NIH. Folate could be especially important for people with asthma. In a study published in February 2016 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, researchers found that kids who didn’t get enough folate and vitamin D were nearly 8 times more likely to experience one or more severe asthma attacks than kids who ate enough of both nutrients




These seedy fruits aren’t easy to open, but the effort will pay off: Pomegranates offer a healthy dose of antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation in the lungs. According to the 2017 review in Nutrients, fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants can help lower inflammation in the airways.

Jones says it’s smart to fill your diet with antioxidant-rich foods, like pomegranates. Pomegranate juice may also help. A study published in BMC Research Notes conducted in animals found a link between pomegranate juice and lower amounts of lung tissue damage. 


Tomato Juice

tomato juice

Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants and low in calories — which makes them a worthy addition to your anti-asthma diet. But there’s more: Tomato juice may also help your airways relax, according to a study done in animals and published in the July 2016 issue of PLoS One. The 2017 Nutrients review also cited previous research that found tomato juice, which contains the antioxidant lycopene, helped adults with asthma free up the airways after one week of consumption.

The Best Foods and Worst Foods for Asthma

Breathe better knowing which foods to reach for and which to avoid.

Young multiracial mother playing with oranges with her toddler son at home.

Asthma is a chronic condition where the airway becomes inflamed, making breathing more difficult. One in 13 people in the U.S. suffer from some form of the condition.

While it may seem unrelated, food plays an important role in asthma management.

Since asthma involves inflammatory processes, foods that impact inflammation may trigger symptoms and influence the severity of asthma attacks in some people. Allergic reactions to various foods can also trigger asthma symptoms. Nutrients including vitamins C, D, and E, as well as selenium, fiber, and certain types of fats, can all play a role in asthma management.

Best Foods for Asthma

These nutrient-packed, whole foods are versatile, easy to find at your local grocery store and may also help manage the symptoms of asthma.


Rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, carrots contain inflammation-fighting antioxidants that can help protect the airway from damage. Vitamin C plays an important role in protecting respiratory cells and fluids from oxidative stress and damage.

Use carrots in salads, smoothies, and cold pressed juices. They can also be roasted and grilled – quick cooking will ensure they keep some crunch and preserve more of the vitamin C carrots contain.


Vitamin C rich oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit are a fresh and accessible way to brighten up both sweet and savory recipes. The high water content of citrus fruits can also help contribute to hydration, which has also been shown to reduce exercise-induced asthma attacks.


Reach for a handful of vitamin E from almonds to help protect the delicate membranes of the respiratory system. One ounce of almonds contains 45% of the daily recommendation for vitamin E.


If you have asthma, the fats you consume can make a huge difference. The inflammation-fighting power of omega-3 fats in salmon is just one of the many reasons to eat more of this healthy, fatty fish.


Walnuts are yet another stellar source of omega-3 fats, which play a role in protecting the respiratory system from excessive amounts of inflammation.⁷ This plant-based option can be incorporated into cereal, oat bowls, smoothies, granola, salads, and baked goods.


Sardines contain high amounts of selenium, a mineral with cell-protecting, antioxidant properties. There is some evidence to suggest that people with asthma can benefit from more selenium in their daily diets, as selenium has been found to help control airway inflammation as well as reduce airway mucus secretion, especially when combined with vitamin E.

Three ounces of sardines contain 82% of the daily value.


A happy gut can help lung function. Promote healthy gut bacteria by eating soluble fiber from oats. Sweet and savory oatmeal and granola are just a few of the ways to enjoy this whole grain.

Foods to Avoid With Asthma

Some foods can make asthma worse due to their ability to elicit allergic reactions. Steering clear of these foods may help control symptoms. Other foods perpetuate inflammation, which can also negatively impact asthma status.

Peanuts and Tree Nuts

These are two of the most common allergens, especially in children. Check food labels carefully to best determine which foods many contain or are processed in a facility with peanuts and tree nuts. Those without diagnosed allergies can enjoy these nuts as a healthy way to get healthy fats and fiber.

Processed Meats

Large amounts of foods high in saturated fat, including processed meats like sausage, bacon, and salami, can trigger excessive inflammation throughout the body, including the lungs. Enjoy these foods in moderation and focus on lean meats, poultry, and fish to optimize protein intake.


The evidence is mixed on whether dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cheese, can aggravate asthma. Milk is a common allergen, but some data also suggests dairy in the absence of allergies can lead to lung issues.


Wine drinkers can often reap the benefits of antioxidants found in red wine, but the sulfites also found in your glass may flare asthma. While the cause is unclear, sulfite sensitivity occurs in 3%-10% of people with asthma, studies suggest. Sulfites can also be found as a food preservative and in some forms of medications.

Best and Worst Foods for Asthma

Living with asthma means feeling super sensitive to shifts in temperature and humidity. But what about the foods you eat?

According to the American Lung Association (ALA), some of the worst foods for asthma include:

  • foods with sulfites
  • pickled foods
  • gas-causing foods
  • foods and drinks with salicylates
  • inflammatory foods

Yep, what’s for dinner might actually impact whether you rest and breathe easy tonight. Here’s what you need to know about the best and worst foods for asthma.

Can foods really trigger asthma?

While there’s no standard diet for folks with chronic lung diseases, it’s possible some food choices can help or harm your ability to breathe.

There are three major ways that food could impact asthma.

  • Systemic inflammation. A 2017 research report suggested asthma’s association with chronic inflammation could mean that foods full of antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids dials down symptoms. On the flip side, sugar and saturated fat could make inflammation worse. TBH, chronic inflammation takes time. But if your diet is riddled with inflammatory foods, switching to anti-inflammatory eats could potentially help your asthma.
  • Airway inflammation. Some fatty foods and dairy products might cause bronchial swelling.
  • Metabolism needs. Some foods require more oxygen to get broken down and absorbed (aka metabolized). In general, carbs need more oxygen — and create more carbon dioxide — while healthy fats lead to less carbon dioxide. More research is needed to understand the link between asthma and metabolism needs, but it’s an interesting take.

Before diving into the best and worst foods for asthma below, remember that food issues vary from person to person. Talk with your doctor and a registered dietician before going scorched-earth on your daily diet.

tl;dr on asthma and food choices

Asthma attacks aren’t triggered by food alone. But we know that swapping processed, fatty foods for fresh, whole foods can soothe chronic inflammation and improve your overall health.

For some folks, a nutritious diet might translate to fewer asthma attacks.

worst foods for asthma

The major food types that might make asthma worse include:

  • sulfites
  • foods that cause gas
  • dairy and other potentially inflammatory foods

Now let’s look at some specific examples.


First, shellfish (especially shrimp) often contain sulfites. Second, it’s a common food allergy.

While the exact relationship remains a mystery, scientists have pinpointed an undeniable link between asthma and allergies. If you have asthma, you might also be allergic to shellfish.


Sulfites crop up wherever there’s fermentation. So you’ll frequently find these bad boys in wine and beer.

Still wanna enjoy booze on a low-sulfite diet? Reach for the gin or vodka.


Sulfites strike again! Vinegar is a fermented product, after all.

Heads up: Some apple cider vinegar brands make claims about having no added sulfites. The keyword is added. Most vinegar contains natural sulfites. If you love a little tang on your salad, try a splash of lemon juice instead.


Unfortunately, pickling unleashes sulfites. And though we’re sounding like our iPod’s stuck on replay (ah, 2010), we’ll say it again: sulfites can trigger asthma attacks.

Any of these pickled foods might be bad news for asthma:

  • pickled cucumbers (the OG pickled food?)
  • sauerkraut
  • pickled onions
  • pickled peppers
  • pickled fruits

Dried fruit

Fruit leather practically oozes healthy antioxidants and vitamin C. But if you don’t dry your own fruit at home, guess what kind of preservative manufacturers use to keep it colorful and chewy? Sulfites.

So, peeps living with asthma might benefit from eating fresh plums instead of prunes.


It’s no secret that beans can cause major bloating. But when gas builds up in your torso, it can also put pressure on your diaphragm and make you feel short of breath.

That combo of bloating, chest tightness from pressure, and even the stress of feeling icky can trigger an asthma attack.

So really, anything that makes you gassy spells bad news for asthma. A few more other culprits include:

  • fizzy drinks
  • cabbage
  • fried food
  • onions, for some folks

Processed meats

Science offers a few reasons to pass on the salami if you have asthma:

  • Many processed types of meat contain sulfites as a preservative. Womp, womp.
  • Processed meats are usually laced with potentially inflammatory saturated fat.
  • Research suggests that a primarily plant-based diet might improve asthma symptoms.

Dairy products

Oh, dairy. It’s one of the most common food groups your body loves to hate.

If you’re sensitive to lactose, ditching dairy might keep asthma-triggering bloat away. And if dairy makes you feel congested or phlegmy, it’s probably not helping your airways.

Limited research on asthma and dairy has still found no evidence that cheese or milk causes asthma attacks. Your best bet is to pass on dairy for a few weeks, then reintroduce it to see if you notice a difference in your breathing.

Salicylates-stuffed foods

According to the ALA, some folks with asthma are sensitive to salicylates, a natural chemical compound found in the following foods:

  • some coffee and tea
  • curry
  • paprika
  • oregano
  • mustard
  • cayenne

If your body doesn’t love salicylates, you might also notice congestion or a runny nose after eating or drinking.

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