High-fat foods may help trigger asthma attacks

By Carrie Johnson • Published: August 3rd, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

People who suffer from asthma already have a long list of things that could trigger an attack. Smoking. Dust. Allergies. Exercise. Now scientists say chowing on a cheeseburger and french fries could put them at risk, too.

According to a new study conducted by Australian researchers, foods that are high in fat could lead to airway inflammation. To test this, the researchers did studied forty asthma sufferers who were randomly assigned to eat different meals.

The first group ate a high-fat fast food meal consisting of a hamburger and hash brown potatoes. The total calorie count was more than one-thousand calories, with fifty-two percent of these calories from fat. The second group ate a two-hundred calorie meal of low-fat yogurt. Only thirteen percent of those calories came from fat.

The researchers tested each of the participants before and after the meals. The people who ate the cheeseburger showed a significant boost in a type of white blood cell called a neutrophil, which is present in a person’s body during an asthma attack. Those who had the high-fat meal also showed less of a response to medication commonly used to open the airways during an asthma attack.

Asthma affects more than seventeen million people in the United States alone. While it can’t be cured, the symptoms can be controlled. People who suffer from asthma should also take care to minimize dust and pet dander in their homes. If you live in a damp climate, consider getting a dehumidifier. Also, be sure to use air-conditioning to help keep the air circulating. And reach for an apple or some carrots instead of a slice of pizza. Not only might it help you breathe easier, it will be better for your overall health in the long run.