The way to relieve asthma symptoms might be through the stomach: A small study has revealed that people with asthma exhibited increased airway inflammation just hours after indulging in a high-fat meal.
Australian researchers presented their findings at the recent American Thoracic Society 2010 International Conference in New Orleans. They had randomized 40 individuals with asthma to receive either a high-fat, high-calorie meal of fast-food burgers and hash browns (approximately 1,000 calories, 52% of which came from fat), or a low-fat, low-calorie meal of reduced-fat yogurt (approximately 200 calories and 13% fat).
Sputum samples collected before the meal and four hours afterwards demonstrated an increase in airway neutrophils and other inflammatory markers among the burger-eaters. Those subjects also had reduced bronchodilator response.
In related news, a research team reported that eating three or more hamburgers a week may boost a child’s risk of asthma and wheeze (Thorax. 2010;65:516-522). After evaluating 10 years’ worth of data from 50,000 children aged 8 to 12 years from 20 rich and poor countries around the world, the investigators found that diet is associated with wheeze and asthma but not with allergic sensitization in children, providing further evidence that adherence to the Mediterranean diet—heavy on fish, fruits, and vegetables—may provide some protection against wheeze and asthma in childhood.