- The caffeine in regular coffee can help prevent and control asthma attacks. Researchers have found that regular coffee drinkers have one-third fewer asthma symptoms than those who don’t drink the hot stuff. The reason? Caffeine has bronchodilating effects. In fact, caffeine was one of the main anti-asthmatic drugs during the nineteenth century. Don’t load up on java, though — three cups a day will provide the maximum benefit — and don’t give coffee to children with asthma.
- Onions are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that these properties can reduce the constriction of the airways in an asthma attack. Raw onions are generally too irritating, but eating cooked onions may help to lessen asthma attacks.
- Put a fine cheesecloth over each room’s heat outlet. This homemade dust filter can help by catching dust, animal dander, and pollen before it’s recirculated into the air. Stick-on commercial filters are also available. And don’t forget the number one most effective home aid — scrupulous cleaning. It’s not easy, but being a bit obsessive about keeping a clean house goes a long way toward helping to alleviate asthma symptoms.
- Hot foods such as chili peppers open up airways. Experts believe this happens because peppers stimulate fluids in the mouth, throat, and lungs. The increase in fluids thins out the mucus formed during an asthma attack so it can be coughed up, making breathing easier. Capsaicin, the stuff that makes hot peppers hot, acts as an anti-inflammatory when eaten.
- Vitamin C is the main antioxidant in the lining of the bronchi and bronchioles. Research discovered that people with asthma had low levels of vitamin C; eating foods that had at least 300 mg of vitamin C a day — equivalent to about three glasses of orange juice — cut wheezing by 30 percent. Other foods high in vitamin C include red bell pepper, papaya, broccoli, blueberries, and strawberries.
- Fatty fish such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, and tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids seem to help the lungs react better to irritants in people who have asthma and may even help prevent asthma in people who have never had an attack. Studies have found that kids who eat fish more than once a week have one-third the risk of getting asthma, as compared to children who don’t eat fish. And researchers discovered that people who took fish oil supplements, equivalent to eating 8 ounces of mackerel a day, increased their body’s ability to avoid a severe asthma attack by 50 percent.
- Vitamin B12 can alleviate the symptoms of asthma, and it seems to be even more effective in asthma sufferers who are sensitive to sulfite. Studies have found that taking 1 to 4 micrograms (mcg) works best as protection against asthma attacks. The current RDA for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults. One cup of yogurt has 1.4 mcg of the lung-loving vitamin.
- This is a folk remedy for a homemade vaporizer: Put 1 quart nonchlorinated water in a stainless steel, glass, or enamel pan, and put it on the stove. Add 10 drops peppermint extract or peppermint oil, and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for about 1 hour, until all the water is gone. The volatile oil will saturate the room air.