Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Asthma health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

Asthma and food

Most people with asthma don't have to follow a special diet, but in some cases certain foods can make asthma symptoms worse.

According to Asthma UK, these include:

  • Eggs
  • Cow's milk
  • Peanuts
  • Fish
  • Royal jelly products
  • Yeast products
  • Some food colourings and preservatives

Food preservatives, colourings and asthma

Food preservatives and colourings, sometimes referred to as E numbers, that may trigger asthma symptoms include:

  • Tartrazine colouring (E102), found in many foods and several medicines.
  • Benzoic acid (E210) preservative, found in some fruit products and soft drinks.
  • Sodium metabisulphite (E220-227), found in wine, home-brewed beer, fizzy drinks, some prepared meats and prepared salads.

Symptoms of food allergies and asthma

Some foods, colourings and preservatives may trigger asthma symptoms or make them worse. Some people may also experience hives, rash, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

It may help to keep a food diary to track what's causing allergic or asthma reactions.

Talk to your doctor if you have concerns. Allergy testing may be recommended to confirm a food allergy.

What do I do if I have food allergies and asthma?

Avoid the food trigger. Try not to come into contact with the food you are allergic to. Avoiding food triggers can be challenging though. It is important to always read food labels and if you are eating out, ask how foods are prepared.

Talk to your doctor about allergy injections to help de-sensitise the body to allergy triggers.

Are some foods beneficial for asthma?

While some foods can make asthma symptoms worse, there's some evidence other foods may help protect the body against asthma and possibly improve lung function.

Dutch researchers found that eating more fruit and vegetables could help with healthy lung function. Vitamin C and E may also help reduce inflammation in the lungs.

A healthy balanced diet, with 5-a-day portions of fruit and veg may also help the body fight off colds and flu, which are known to make asthma worse.

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on July 22, 2015

Asthma newsletter

Get tips for breathing easier.
Sign Up

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman_holding_head_in_pain
How to help headache pain
smiling baby
Causes and remedies
man holding sore neck
16 tips when you have a lot of weight to lose
mother and child
Caring for a baby with cows' milk allergy
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
man holding sore neck
8 signs you're headed for menopause
couple makigh salad
Nutrition for over 50s
bain illustration
Best foods for your brain
rash on skin
Top eczema triggers to avoid
rubber duckie
Hidden allergy hotspots in homes
egg in cup
Surprising things that can harm your liver