Do you indulge your cravings for a burger and fries every once in a while? If so, it's important that you know that such a high fat meal is not only bad for your cholesterol and your waistline, but it could also worsen your asthma symptoms. If you're puzzled about the connection between high-fat food and asthma, read on to find out how and why scientists now believe these two unlikely factors could be related.

The Link Between Food and Asthma

It's long been recognized that high-fat foods can cause inflammation within the body, leading to a number of health problems. Now, researchers have discovered that the impact of this inflammation can even extend to the airways, and lead to the bronchial spasms that typically occur with asthma. This means that high-fat food and asthma can be a bad combination with what you eat affecting how well you breathe, too.

Exploring High-Fat Food and Asthma

To better understand the connection, scientists from the University of Newcastle in Australia took a close look at how the respiratory system responded when a group of people with asthma consumed a fatty meal. What they discovered was that when participants indulged in burgers and other high-fat choices, within a few hours their airways experienced increased inflammation and related asthma symptoms. This was in sharp contrast to the results of a control group of asthmatics who ate a low-fat meal and didn't experience these problems. Scientists also noted that for the high-fat group, the inflammation in their airways lasted for a full three or four hours.

Food For Concern

Even more striking is that the asthmatics who ate fatty foods also found that their airway inflammation did not respond well to their fast-acting relief medication. The medicine didn't seem to be able to counteract the fast-food induced reaction in the way it normally would work to relieve asthma symptoms. These findings, which were released at the American Thoracic Society's International Conference held in New Orleans in May 2010, should be cause for serious concern for many asthma patients and will warrant further research on how to combat the problem.

Eat Smart

In the meantime, if you wonder how you can use this information to help manage your own asthma, there are some easy takeaway lessons that can make a big difference. First, paying attention to the fat content in the foods you eat can help you control your symptoms.

Next, it's also important to make healthy dietary choices. Eating a low-fat, balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and lean meats is usually best, not only for your lungs but also for your overall health status.

Finally, if you notice your asthma symptoms seem to kick in shortly after you eat a meal, it can be helpful to keep a food diary and review the results with your doctor so you can see if any foods could be triggering your symptoms.


The American Thoracic Society/International Conference