Good Health Magazine Australia|November 2019
Asthma means having sensitive airways that react to triggers such as exercise, pollen, tobacco smoke or chest infections, causing the muscles around the airways to swell and narrow, making it very hard to breathe. That’s known as a flare-up (sometimes called an asthma attack), and it can be life-threatening in some cases. There isn’t a cure for asthma, but it can be controlled to reduce symptoms.
The gut health link
Professor Lisa Wood and her research team at the University of Newcastle’s School of Biomedical Science and Pharmacy are on the trail of something that could make it easier for people with asthma to do just that. A few years ago, they discovered a link between asthma control and the digestion of soluble fibre – in other words: gut health. Buoyed by that result, Professor Wood is leading a wider-scale study to uncover a definitive link, which could significantly improve quality of life for people with asthma.
“The majority of people with asthma are looking for dietary strategies to help them manage their disease, but there hasn’t been much good-quality scientific evidence to direct them,” explains Professor Wood.
“And, for the last 20 years, we’ve been working on different projects where we’ve tested different foods and nutrients to see if they would be helpful in asthma management.”
Soluble fibre, found primarily in fruits, vegetables and legumes, is known to slow the emptying process of the stomach, helping us feel fuller, as well as lowering cholesterol and stabilising blood glucose levels. It has also been shown toalter the body’s immune response, Professor Wood says.
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