Asthma is a condition marked by swelling of the airways that constricts the flow of air from the nose to the lungs. Allergens and other irritants that enter the lungs can trigger asthma symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing, chest pain, and trouble breathing.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 25 million Americans have asthma, which equates to one in 13 people. There is no cure for asthma, and it can be deadly.
Some natural therapies may be helpful in managing the symptoms of asthma, but there is no substitute for proper treatment and medication from your healthcare provider or specialist.
“Just because something is natural, it doesn’t mean it is superior,” Dr. Andy Nish, of NGPG Allergy and Asthma, tells Newsmax. “Not all natural events are good, such as getting poison ivy or being struck by lightning! Suggestions such as losing weight and exercising are both helpful, but we have excellent asthma medications that can help mitigate asthma exacerbations while following your doctor’s asthma action plan.”
Here are some natural recommendations that can be implemented in conjunction with conventional treatments for helping to prevent and treat asthma symptoms:
- Follow an asthma diet. If you have food allergies, avoid the trigger foods that can cause asthma symptoms. According to WebMD, several studies have found that following the Mediterranean Diet is helpful. Experts say that eating this primarily plant-based diet that features lots of omega-3 rich fatty fish may lower inflammation, which can help reduce asthma symptoms.
- Lose weight. If you carry excess weight around the middle of your body, it makes the lungs work harder. Losing weight can improve lung volume, says WebMD, and reduce the risk for diabetes and high blood pressure, conditions that can make asthma worse.
- Yoga. Stress can cause asthma symptoms, and practicing yoga may help reduce this stress and improve breathing. A 2016 review of yoga poses, breathing exercises, and meditation found that this form of physical activity has a modest effect on asthma symptoms. Experts say that if your asthma is under control, it couldn’t hurt to try these poses and exercises and see if they are helpful. Always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
- Drink caffeine. There is some evidence that caffeine, which is a mild bronchodilator, can help keep airways open.
- Buteyko breathing. The principle behind the Buteyko Breathing Method is to restore functional breathing and normalize carbon dioxide levels, says Heather Marcus Berg, an international accredited instructor in the technique. “People with asthma tend to over breathe which constricts the airways,” the expert tells Newsmax. Several studies have been done to evaluate the effect of slowing the breath to help reduce asthma symptoms as well as lower stress and anxiety levels. You can find a practitioner in your area worldwide, here.
- Ginger. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory herb that could help alleviate asthma, according to Healthline. A 2013 study showed that taking ginger orally was associated with improved symptoms.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that involves placing tiny needles strategically in the body. Although the long-term benefits of acupuncture have not been conclusively studied, some people say they benefit from the technique because it improves air flow and relieves chest pain.
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