Proper diet taken at regular times is very important for a patient of asthma.This can not only prevent an attack from occurring but also can lessen the severity of the attack that a patient is having.
The diet should be light, nutritious and well balanced.It should not contain such things which don’t go well with the Patient.Experience shows that for north Indians, rice taken at night causes discomfort in breathing.This may be because of the fact that to satisfy hunger with rice, one has to take a large quantity of it so that the stomach is bloated and this puts hindrance in the way of the full and proper working of the diaphragm in respiration.Other things that patients generally complain of not being comfortable to them are taking of bananas among the vegetables ladyfingers and among the lentil, urad and its dal.So these may be avoided.Spices should be avoided in diet.With some people, cold drinks and sour preparations like chuttnies and pickles cause more coughing so these may be avoided.
Asthma patient should not take full stomach meal.Fullness of stomach after meals in particular at night causes discomfort in breathing or even precipitates breathlessness.One should take less quantity at a time though he may take for more number of times.Fried things should be avoided as far as possible.
No sweet dish should be taken at night.A patient of asthma would notice that he feels more comfortable during the night if at the time of sleep his stomach is not heavy.So dinner should be taken at least two hours before one goes to bed.
Asthma patient should take more of vegetables,cheese, eggs and chicken, soups and fruits.But all of these should be taken in moderation.There should be adequate variety in the diet of the patient so that he does not feel bored with it.
It is preferable that an asthma patient avoids taking food outside his house, particularly the party dishes they are all heavy with fat and frying.However in order to avoid attention towards oneself one may, if it is possible take lighter meal than usual with one or two innocuous looking dishes.
Diet for Children
Children who develop asthma do not pick up weight or even lose weight.So special attention has to be
given to their diet.
A child requires more calories per kilogram of body weight than an adult, because 1) his basal metabolic rate is higher 2) he indulges in greater physical activity and 3) more calories are needed by him for the growth of his body. An asthmatic child has even greater metabolic rate, because of hurried breathing.
So the child needs more carbohydrates and more proteins.If the diet is otherwise well balanced no extra addition of minerals and vitamins are necessary.
A liberal amount of water should be given to child asthmatics because they lose a lot of it in respiration.Meal hours should be regular, and as far as possible nibbling in between meals should not be allowed.
A child may be told what he should not take as for example, pickles chuttnies etc.He should not however be unduly forced to take a particular diet which he does not like.On the other hand his likes and dislikes should be anticipated and variety introduced in the diet which is well balanced.
If the child is otherwise healthy eats well plays well sleeps well but does not take adequate food according to the parents standard, then it is parent and not the child who needs to be instructed.
While some children like to live disciplined lives others don’t.There are some children to whom milk taking day after day is monotonous for such children variety in serving milk preparation should be found.
Taking more sweets while keeping the calories adequate in diet, makes it deficient in proteins.School going children often hurry through their breakfast because they get up late, and then hurry through their lunch because they have to play And then take a heavy dinner.All this is wrong A full stomach while going to bed is more liable to lead to an attack of asthma during the night.
Diet for Old People
The lessened activity and lowered metabolic rate reduces the calorie requirements.If the patient is also suffering
from some other disease like arthritis or angina the activity is further reduced.If an older asthmatic is taking Corticosteroids occasionally or regularly then the old age plus the effect of these drugs, leads to weakening of the bones because of the deficiency of calcium, protein, vitamins, minerals and hormones.It is not uncommon.
Food Do’s and Dont’s
….Fried and fatty foods.
….Overloading your stomach
….Sweet dish at night
….Going out in cold air at night after dinner.
….Eat simple food without spices at regular hours.
….Take light and nourishing food provided one does not have known allergy to any of them.
….Take plenty of water during an attack of asthma.
….Take dinner early in the evening say 2 hours before sleep.
….Take very light dinner so that the stomach is almost empty when fall asleep.