9 Ways To Minimize Asthma Symptoms And Improve Lung Health

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Is your cold, allergies, hectic lifestyle, or just the cold weather making it hard for you to breathe well?  We know, there are so many factors that can keep you from feeling like you can take a calm, deep breath.  

But it’s ok, we are going to help you know how to minimize asthmatic symptoms and increase the health of your lungs.   

Many things affect our breathing and the health of our lungs.  The quality of the air we breathe, sudden and extreme weather changes, increased pollen, seasonal allergies, the dust and debris in our homes, and the food we eat can all have an impact on our lungs.  

Today we are going to go over items that can improve your lung health and leave you feeling revived.  Keep reading to discover how you can improve your lung health today!


Asthma by definition is characterized by recurrent attacks of shortness of breath, wheezing and abnormal breath sounds, and measurable signs of allergies from foods or inhalants.  

Both environmental and genetic factors can cause asthmatic symptoms, and the triggers from each can lead to difficulty breathing and overall poor lung health.

Even if you have susceptibility to both genetic and environmental lung problems, the natural approach to treating asthma for healthy lungs comes in many forms!  

Here are nine easy ways to improve lung health that you can achieve by yourself or with the help of a naturopathic doctor.  

1. Airborne Allergens 

Some first basic steps in minimizing airborne allergens such as dust, pollen, and pet dander, is to wash sheets, blankets, pillowcases, and mattress pads once a week in hot water.  

Another way is to purchase a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter that can go into individual rooms or be placed within the central heating and air system.  

Once airborne allergens are minimized, the chance of inciting and prolonging an asthma attack is also minimized.  

So treat yourself and take some time to make your home a clean, comfortable, and relaxing space! 

2. Food Allergies

Taking the time to understand what foods cause allergic reactions will greatly diminish the likelihood that one will have an asthma attack based on a food allergy.  

Personally identifying offending foods will help the development of further allergies.  That is why working with your professional health care team is important to determine the right diet for you.  

Working with a naturopathic doctor to know what nutritional supplements and herbal medicines work with your body is a great way to narrow down harmful food sources and minimize reactions to maintain lung health.  

3. Food Additives 

Another way to minimize food-based asthma symptoms is to eliminate or minimize food additives. Food additives such as artificial dyes and preservatives that are commonly used in food can be problematic.  

Watch out and be aware!  Here are the items to look out for: the dye tartrazine, and the preservatives benzoate, sulfur dioxide, and sulfite, which have all made some individuals sensitive to asthmatic symptoms.  

In particular, individuals with sulfite sensitivities should be aware of the possibility that sulfite additives can lead to an asthma attack.      

Nutritional Foods and Supplements

We are in luck, though, because having a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is synonymous with strong lungs and a healthy respiratory system.  

Foods rich in antioxidants have a profound healing effect on the body and will increase the strength of your lungs.  Let’s explore how antioxidants can help your health! 

4. Antioxidants

The major antioxidant substance present in the lung lining is vitamin C.  Foods high in vitamin C also improve lung function by lowering histamine levels.  

Specifically, vitamin C prevents white blood cells from secreting histamine and increases detoxification to create an antihistamine effect against harmful food and airborne allergens. 

Because of this, vitamin C serves as a very important component in the overall health of the lungs. Guava, cantaloupe, strawberries, and papaya have excellent levels of vitamin C and are a wonderful way to eat your way to healthy lungs.    

5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Did you know that omega-3 fatty acids offer significant benefits? Don’t give up if the results are not instantaneous! Although our iPhones work at the touch of a button, our bodies do not.  Have a little faith and watch as this supplement heals your body over time.  

What’s so interesting about how the omega-3 fatty acids work overtime is that your cellular membranes include the omega-3 fatty acids after taking the supplements for over a year!

Cellular membranes with omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and, therefore, reduce asthma symptoms.  As inflammation is reduced, airway responsiveness to allergens and respiratory function is improved overall. Who knew?  What a great and easy way to achieve better lung health.  

6. Licorice

Humans have used licorice root for a long time to decrease inflammation, act as an antiallergic agent, and for the interesting taste.  

Do you like licorice?  If not, that’s ok because it’s one of the compounds in licorice that shows cortisol-like activity once the licorice is ingested. 

So even if you don’t like the taste, you can take a supplement to get the cortisol-like properties.   

With both antiallergic properties and anti-inflammatory agents, licorice is an easy and simple way to help reduce asthma symptoms and improve the health of your lungs.  

So go out and find your favorite way to ingest the interesting and historical licorice plant. 

7. Cayenne Pepper

The making of hot sauce and it’s consumption is a million-dollar industry.  Maybe the industry is not aware, but it’s true that cayenne pepper is good for your lung health.  

It might sound counter-intuitive, but cayenne pepper can help minimize an asthma attack because the major active component within it, capsaicin, helps desensitize airway mucus to irritants.  

Capsaicin is what makes cayenne pepper hot, and taking supplemental doses of capsaicin is another way to reduce strong asthma flare-ups because of its interesting ability to minimize environmental irritants.     

Making hot sauce part of your weekly diet might have more benefits than tasting great on your favorite foods.  

8. Jujube Plum

Does Chinese medicine seem ancient to you?  Well, let’s go back in time! Have you heard of the jujube plum fruit, which is also known as a Chinese date? This small, red fruit has been used for the treatment of asthma and allergies for many millennia.  

The jujube fruit contains a compound that promotes bronchial relaxation, is higher in vitamin C than citrus fruits, and has relaxing and calming properties for the entire body.  What more could you ask for in such a small fruit!?   

Since the jujube fruit is native to Asia, you can find dried jujube available online to easily add this delicious fruit into your diet.      

Dietary Choices 

9. Vegan Diet 

Another way to improve the overall function of the lungs is through dietary choices. 

A vegan diet, you say? Oh no, it’s your worst nightmare isn’t it, no meat?!  

Even if you are afraid, or slightly unwilling, it is possible to decrease your meat consumption.  

Maybe it is not completely for you, but you can start one vegan day a week to see how your body feels.   

Some may find that a vegan diet, a diet that eliminates all animal by-products, will help to eliminate food allergens and food additives. Even slightly minimizing meat consumption might help knock out some pesky food allergens and additives.  

And any plant-based diet will increase the likelihood of absorbing antioxidant nutrients into the body.  And as we learned earlier, antioxidants are excellent for overall lung health.   

Asthma and your Health 

All in all, there are many ways one can improve the overall health and wellness of your lungs.    

And not only will you be taking care of your lungs when you make these positive choices, but you’ll also be improving the health and wellness of your entire body.  

Make the choice to minimize harmful environmental factors, as well as increase positive food and lifestyle choices that enhance your internal health.  

Now take a moment to breathe, be happy, and feel free to reach out to me for more information. 

About The Author:

Picture of Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National College for Naturopathic Medicine (now called The National University of Natural Medicine) in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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