Can Food Allergies Trigger Asthma Symptoms?

The Truth about Asthma and Food

When you consider asthma causes, you might be surprised to find out as few as about five percent of the 20 million or so asthmatics in the United States can actually trace their symptoms back to the things they eat and drink. But if you do fall into this small group, the experts say your symptoms could be caused by certain foods, or by the sulfites or other additives that these items contain.

Possible Asthma Triggers

Some of the foods that can trigger your asthma symptoms can include:

  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Fish

In addition, asthma can be caused by certain types of sulfites, which are added to processed foods and also occur naturally in some items. Some foods with sulfites that can trigger asthma include:

  • Prepared potatoes
  • Lemon and lime juice
  • Wine and beer
  • Shrimp
  • Pickled foods
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce

In addition, there are many other food ingredients that can make people with asthma and food allergies sick.

Become Aware

The best way to take care and prevent food allergies from being one of your asthma causes is to act proactively. You should pay attention to when your symptoms occur and notice if there is any relationship to certain things you eat and drink.

In addition, make time to read food labels and familiarize yourself with items that contain ingredients that you believe could trigger your symptoms. Further, talk to your doctor about undergoing allergy testing to find out for sure what items you should avoid. When you become aware of what to steer clear of, you can take control of your asthma and minimize your risks.

Be Prepared

Doctors say that if you do experience asthma symptoms that you believe can be related to a food allergy, you will want to be prepared by having your fast-acting relief medications handy. You should also understand that in some cases, asthma that you think is caused by a food allergy can actually be a sign of anaphylactic shock, which is a serious allergic reaction that can be fatal if you don't act fast. If you are at risk for this condition, you should know the warning signs and carry an epinephrine injection with you at all times.


This statistic comes from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's website at

More information is available about sulfites and asthma at


Bock, S. Allen, et al. "Fatalities Due To Anaphylactic Reactions to Foods." Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Jan. 2007. 107(1): 191-193. 1 Mar. 2008.