A recent study showed that daily supplements of an extract of soy (soya) beans could prove to be a natural health remedy for asthma. Genistein, a natural plant chemical found in high amounts in soy beans can reduce the inflammation in the airways and improve breathing. This could be good news for millions of asthma sufferers who find that the cold air of winter, and increased incidence of colds and flu causes more frequent attacks.
During an asthma attack the airways become inflamed and constricted, making it harder to breathe. Studies have shown that the more genistein that people have in their diets the less the symptoms. Genistein is an isoflavone that has powerful antioxidant effects. Researchers have discovered that there is an association between a reduced intake of antioxidants and respiratory conditions including asthma.
There has been a huge rise in diagnosed cases of asthma in the Western world which most experts believe to be a result of environmental factors, nutrient poor diets, toxic overload and stressful lifestyles. Exposure to environmental pollutants in the air irritate the airways causing them to constrict making breathing difficult. Although many asthmatics are aware of house dust mite, animal hairs, pollen, and cigarette smoke being a possible triggers they are not always aware that food allergies can also trigger asthma and that their diet can play a huge part in lessening symptoms.
These food allergies or sensitivities are not the usual ones that are obvious and occur immediately after the food is eaten as happens for example in peanut allergy. They are more likely to be delayed food allergies where the reaction may occur as long as 48 hours after the food is eaten. The most often implicated foods triggering asthma or inflammation include wheat, dairy products, peanut butter, eggs, seafood and ironically, soy (soya).
A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables has been shown time and time again to provide the antioxidants that help to reduce the inflammatory condition. One long study showed that asthma can be improved with a vegan diet.
The usual drug treatment focuses on suppressing inflammation without trying to identify the underlying cause. Inflammation can be made worse by the wrong diet and high stress levels. Preservatives, especially sulfites (sulphites) colorings and preservatives should be avoided. A low salt diet can help reduce sensitivity to histamine. Detox therapies have been shown to improve symptoms as the toxic load is reduced.
Other nutrients that can help lessen inflammation and support the immune system are:
- Omega 3 oils (EPA/DHA) – at least 3 grams a day of a pollutant free. high potency fish oil.
- Vitamin C 1000 mg with bioflavanoids a day in divided doses or time release.
- High dose Multi Vitamin with 50 mg B6 and 50 micrograms B12
- A good Multi Mineral with at least 500mg magnesium to help relax the airways and good levels of zinc (15 mg) and selenium (200mcg)
- Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that can help.
- Follow a diet low in sugar, alcohol, animal fats, hydrogenated fats, processed foods, refined carbohydrates and additives especially sulfites.
- Focus on foods that have an anti-inflammatory effect such as oily fish that are low in mercury, seeds, flax oil, onions and garlic
- Eat more fruit and vegetables and use whole grains.
- Get tested for IgG food intolerance or do a FACT test.
- Avoid food that you react to.
- Avoid chemicals in the home and use natural personal care products
- Use turmeric and ginger in cooking that help reduce allergic reactions
- Try taking genistein, as soy isoflavones if you are not allergic to soy.
- Follow a full detox programe several times a year and do mini detoxes in between.
- Avoid stress as much as possible and practice relaxation or yoga.
Medicine can play an important part in treating and saving lives in severe cases of Asthma but the condition does not have to be a life sentence. There is much that can be done to improve it with alternative therapies. More and more research like that into genistein show that there are many natural health remedies that can bring relief to asthma sufferers.