A strong heart and lungs are a cornerstone of whole-body health; better posture, stronger chest muscles, and more efficient circulation all help to decrease asthma symptoms.
If you have trouble doing any aerobic activity, this is a sign that your asthma is not being properly controlled. If your asthma is under control but if you still start to cough and wheeze after exercise, you’re likely suffering from exercise-induced asthma.
Talk to your doctor about treating these symptoms, rather than quitting your workout routine — the benefits of exercise almost always outweighs the risks.
Improve Your Diet
Even if you don’t have any food allergies, what you eat can stir up asthma discomforts before you know it. Heartburn tends to make chest symptoms worse; chronic severe heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)) can even cause long-term damage to the airways. In turn, a diet that promotes good digestion, a calm stomach, and healthy weight loss can actually improve and protect your breathing.
Cut out Irritating Foods
Some culprits are fairly obvious – spicy foods, coffee and caffeine, and alcohol – but other heartburn sources might go unnoticed for a while. Chocolate and peppermint are two such ingredients, and although they’re often found in desserts, they’re not great ways to end your meal.
Certain foods can directly affect your asthma, too. Some people find that sulfites in wine, beer, pickled foods, and dried fruits can lead to chest discomfort and breathing problems. You may want to start a food diary to find out which ingredients may be interfering with your asthma.
Limit Portion Size (Especially Before Bed)
The more your stomach has to digest, the more likely acids will back up into your esophagus. But big portions also lead to big weight gain, and the more extra weight you carry, the worse your heartburn and asthma symptoms.
It’s a good idea to cut down your portion size at every meal, but especially in the evenings, since heartburn tends to worsen when you lay down to sleep. Stay away from acidic and spicy foods at dinnertime, and do your best to cut down the amount of fat you eat (herbs and aromatic spices can stand in for the rich flavor of oils and butter).
Focus on Fresh Produce
It’s no secret than a wholesome diet is better for your waistline, but it’s also important for a strong immune system. Since respiratory infections are leading causes of asthma attacks, you could always use an immune boost.
Deep and bright colored fruits and vegetables are your biggest allies: these are packed with antioxidants and a range of vitamins that keep your immune system running at top speed. Aim for a rainbow of colors, and favor high-fiber veggies over fruit if you’re trying to shed a few pounds.
In the end, the more active your role in your asthma management, the better off you’ll be. Taking control of your condition helps you overcome anxiety with confidence, and a good knowledge base will help you avoid small problems that could otherwise become bigger medical issues. Make your wellbeing your first priority by cooking healthy meals, keeping your surroundings allergen-free, and tending to your symptoms at the very first sign of trouble.