Asthma Awareness Week 1 - 7 September:
An apple a day keeps the asthma doctor away
While most of us will be welcoming the start of spring, for the two million Australians with asthma, the change of season can bring with it wheezing, shortness of breath and other allergy related symptoms.
According to dietitian and nutrition writer, Karen Kingham, research is now showing that diet may have a role in protecting against asthma and its symptoms.
"Previously it was thought that diet played little role in lung function disorders like asthma - yet according to the latest research certain foods have shown the potential to be protective," said Karen.
"Apple consumption has been linked to protection against asthma in a number of studies including an Australian investigation of young adults1
. Eating whole apples daily was found to protect against both asthma and bronchial hyper-reactivity."
"We also know that mothers who eat apples during pregnancy may protect their children from developing asthma in later life, with a recent study2
showing that children of mothers who ate apples when pregnant were less likely to have asthma or related symptoms such as wheezing at the age of five," said Karen.
It is thought to be the high antioxidant content of apples -and in particular the presence of flavonoids -that provides the protective benefit for asthma and wheezing.
"Of all commonly consumed fruits in Australia, apples offer the most potent source of antioxidants with almost five times the antioxidant capacity of bananas and more than twice that of an orange," said Karen.
"The research linking apples with asthma benefits is promising. And along with their convenience, availability and value for money, makes apples are a great choice for boosting antioxidant intake this spring."
About Karen Kingham -Karen Kingham loves good food. A dietitian and freelance nutrition writer, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge to help people enjoy the benefits of great tasting food that brings both pleasure and wellbeing to their lives. Karen is the author of several healthy cookbooks and is the resident nutrition expert for the new BBC Australian Good Food magazine.
1 Woods R et al. Food & nutrient intakes and asthma risk in young adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2003; 78:414-421
2 Willers et al. Maternal food consumption during pregnancy and asthma, respiratory and atopic symptoms in 5-year old children. Thorax 2007; 62:773-779