Let's talk about asthma.
5.4 million people in the UK receive treatment for asthma and it kills 3 people a day. With stats like that, it's not to be taken lightly. If you have asthma, or think you might have it, then get to the doctor quick smart. Don't take any chances.
Asthma needs medication for sure, but there may be other methods that help control its symptoms and severity - fibre for example.
Fibre? How can something that makes you poo properly affect your airways? Well, is it just a coincidence that asthma levels are up in the developed world whilst our fibre levels have plummeted? Probably not. A lot of other illnesses have increased too, diabetes and heart disease for example. I bet most of that is diet-related.
Here's how fibre can help asthma.
A study on mice showed that a low fibre diet exacerbated allergic reactions to house dust mites compared to mice fed normal fibre amounts. Fibre changed the composition of the guts and bacteria in the lungs. The lung bacteria used fibre to create short chain fatty acids, and the mice with short chain fatty acids were better protected against allergic inflammation in the lungs.
Although this study was on lab mice it shows that there is a link between fibre intake and allergic inflammation. It appears fibre affects the immunological make-up of the lungs which protects against allergic airway inflammation.
There is still plenty of work to be done, but it's a good indicator that fibre may improve the lives of asthma suffers. There is some evidence that fibre protects unborn children too. Pregnant mice were fed high fibre and their adult offspring were resistant to airway inflammation too. Not to mention it helps the chronic constipation pregnant ladies are faced with. Only high fibre and dynamite can shift that.
Fibre is found in plants. There are two types:
1. Soluble fibre. It's found in fruit, veggies, linseeds and oats. Your body can digest these and extract the goodness. It's this type of fibre that's turned in short chain fatty acids or 'essential fatty acids' - the type that may protect against asthma.
2. Insoluble fibre. This is found in wholemeal bread, cereal and nuts. It can't be digested and passes through your bowel. It's this insoluble fibre that makes a good poo, scraping the yuck out of your bowel and keeping it all clean inside.
We already know that eating fibre is good for you. It prevents constipation, bowel troubles, and boosts your overall health. Asthma prevention is just another string to its bow. So the moral is - eat more plants! Don't be scared of them or think they are disgusting. Its 'cool' to like eating meat - Nandos, BBQs, steaks etc, but our bodies aren't really set up for such huge meat intake at the expense of plants. Fruit and veggies only want to help.
Besides, you won't look so cool when you are constipated and having an asthma attack, will you? All hail the mighty fibre.