A new study has highlighted that plant-based foods can improve one’s chances against respiratory illnesses including asthma and COVID-19.
A new study published in the online journal Nutrition Reviews examines the role of a plant-based diet in the management and prevention of asthma.
With the ongoing COVID-19 virus affecting respiratory pathways, experts believe the findings are more significant in helping patients tackle or fight respiratory illnesses.
“Asthma is a condition that affects more than 25 million Americans, and unfortunately it can make people more vulnerable in the COVID-19 outbreak,” said study author Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee.
“This research offers hope that dietary changes could be helpful.”
Examining the evidence related to diet and asthma, researchers with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine found that certain foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other high-fiber foods offered potential benefits while dairy products and foods high in saturated fat aggravated the conditions.
According to the findings, antioxidants and flavonoids along with other nutrients found in plant foods have a positive impact ‘on systemic inflammation, oxidation, and microbial composition, ‘ as well as mediate ‘cytokine release, free radical damage, and immune responses, which are the body’s inflammatory mechanisms playing an important role in the ‘development and course of asthma’.
In addition, the high fiber content of plant-based foods helps in improving lung functions.
To corroborate the findings, the authors referenced an earlier study in which asthma patients who consumed a plant-based diet for eight weeks reported a greater reduction in severity and frequency of symptoms along with a lesser dependence on asthma medication.
The study also cited a 2015 study which highlighted that children who consumed the most dairy had higher chances of developing asthma, compared with the children consuming the least.
With the prevalence of asthma rising in recent decades in the US and co-morbid respiratory conditions making patients more susceptible to infections such as COVID-19, authors recommend increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, while decreasing saturated fat and dairy intake.
“This groundbreaking research shows that filling our plates with plant-based foods, and avoiding dairy products and other high-fat foods, can be a powerful tool for preventing and managing asthma,” concluded researcher Kahleova.
Share this article to reveal the benefits associated with plant-based foods.
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