A new review and analysis of 16 published studies conducted by researchers at West China Hospital, Sichuan University, has found a link between fast food consumption and an increased likelihood of having asthma, wheeze and several other allergic diseases such as pollen fever, eczema, and rhino-conjunctivitis.
In terms of different types of fast food consumption, hamburger intake was most prominently associated with allergic diseases in a dose-dependent manner.
How diet may protect against asthma
Poor quality diet is likely to contribute to the development and progression of asthma and wheeze in a number of ways.
Fruit and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed for healthy lung function. Omega-3 fats in oily fish such as salmon, sardines and trout might also help improve asthma symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish are used by the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce lung inflammation.
Vitamin E also helps maintain the proper function of immune cells called mast cells. When mast cells react and accumulate in an uncontrolled manner, inflammatory compounds are released which can contribute to asthma. Good food sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils, almonds, peanuts, soybeans, whole grains, wheat germ, wheat germ oil, avocado and green leafy vegetables.
The mineral magnesium is also important for healthy lung function; it’s needed for the proper contraction and relaxation of the bronchi that carry air to the lungs.
Additional studies are needed to confirm the relationships observed in this analysis and to identify a possible causal relationship between the consumption of fast food and allergic diseases.
Source: Respirology, July 4, 2018.
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