Many patients ask if they can improve their asthma by diet and exercise. Previous studies looked exclusively at obese patients with asthma. A recent study looked at whether interventions targeting sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet can improve asthma in nonobese patients with asthma.
The aim of the study was to test whether an 8 week behavioral intervention consisting of either;
- Exercise (high-intensity interval training). High Intensity Interval Training
- Diet, high protein and a low glycemic index. Low Glycemic Foods (higher amounts of vegetables, fruits, nuts, lean meat, fish and seafood).
- A combination of both interventions to see if it improved asthma control and quality of life, airway inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness, blood eosinophil counts and markers of of inflammation compared to the usual care in nonobese patients with asthma.
The results showed that only the exercise + diet group had statistically significant improvement in asthma symptom scores compared with the control group. But there were no significant changes in sputum cell counts, spirometry, exhaled nitric oxide, airway hyperresponsiveness and blood eosinophil counts across all groups.
The study showed that both diet and exercise are needed to improve asthma control and quality of life, but other markers of inflammation were not affected.
This study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, adds to the growing literature in adults showing links between improved health behaviors and better asthma control, but with limited effects on airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation. It is significant that diet or exercise alone does not improve asthma symptoms, but both are needed for improved asthma quality.
In this day and age, many patients are asking not to take medications to control asthma their asthma symptoms. Although many asthma patients may still controller medications to control their asthma, diet and exercise regimens can be beneficial for all types of asthma patients, not just asthma patients who are overweight.
If you do suffer from asthma, speak to your asthma doctor about behavior interventional measures you can undertake to improve your symptoms.