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Live Well With Asthma

Could Natural Remedies Help My Asthma?


While some natural methods can be considered as complements to an overall management plan, they cannot replace conventional asthma treatments. Always talk to your doctor first before adjusting your management plan or stopping any of your current medications.

Here are some common natural remedies that people may have questions about.


A well-balanced diet can give us nutrients that benefit the body and mind in many ways—even our lungs! By eating the right foods, it’s possible to breathe easier and, in some cases, reduce asthma symptoms. So how does it work?

Oxygen is a crucial component for metabolizing the molecules that make up food. Different foods require different amounts of oxygen to be broken down into energy we can use. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is generated as a waste product and then is exhaled. Carbohydrates use more oxygen and generate more CO2 while fats produce less CO2 for the amount of oxygen used. That means if you have a carb-heavy diet, your body may need more oxygen to metabolize those carbs, which means your lungs may have to work harder to keep up.

By eating the right foods, it’s possible to breathe easier and, in some cases, reduce asthma symptoms

Vitamins can also make a difference. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased risk of asthma attacks in children and adults. You can get vitamin D from milk, salmon, orange, juice, and eggs.

Vitamin E is another vitamin that can help with asthma symptoms. It has a compound called tocopherol, which may decrease the risk of some symptoms like coughing or wheezing. You can get vitamin E from foods such as almonds, raw seeds, Swiss chard, mustard greens, kale, broccoli and hazelnuts.

Some foods can make asthma symptoms worse. Sulfites may cause an adverse reaction or trigger asthma symptoms. They can be found in many preserved foods such as dried fruits, pickled food, shrimp, bottled lemon or lime juice, and wine. Foods that cause gas or bloating can also trigger asthma flare-ups. Before making any dietary changes, talk to your doctor about whether it may be right for you.

Breathing Exercises

Many people with asthma turn to breathing exercises to help with body and mind. They may help manage certain triggers like emotional distress. However, studies indicate that, though breathing exercises can improve stress levels, they have not been shown to make a difference in terms of asthma symptom control.


While people who get acupuncture may experience improvements in stress levels, there is little evidence to suggest that acupuncture can improve lung function and asthma symptoms.


Herbal treatments have been used for a long time to treat a variety of medical conditions. Unfortunately, there's little to no evidence to support that herbal treatments can help treat asthma.

What’s Right for Me?

If you’re thinking about exploring natural remedies, the first step is to talk to your doctor. Be sure to tell them about all your symptoms and your concerns. Together, you can find management strategies that work for you.

Asthma: In Depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Published April 2013. Accessed August 20, 2020.

Asthma and Nutrition: How Food Affects Your Lungs. American Lung Association. Published July 10, 2018. Accessed August 20, 2020.

2020 GINA Main Report - Global Initiative for Asthma. GINA. Accessed August 20, 2020.

4 Tips: Asthma and Complementary Health Practices. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Accessed August 20, 2020.

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