Have Asthma? Avoid These Foods!


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Asthma is a serious lung disease that disproportionately affects Latinos – especially children.

Numerous factors, including housing situations, economic status, and access to healthcare, weigh heavily on many Latinos with asthma.

One report found that Latino kids are 40% more likely to die from an asthma attack than their white peers! Nearly 20% of all Latino kids under the age of 18 also suffer from asthma.

While asthma never really goes away, it can be managed. One way is to watch what you eat.

Food has an influence on asthma symptoms and some foods can make asthma worse. While not everyone reacts the same way, here are some common foods to avoid if you or someone in your family has asthma.

Dried Fruit

Many kinds of dried fruits include preservatives that are designed to make them last longer on the grocery store shelf. However, many of these are a problem for people with asthma. Check the packaging for terms such as “potassium bisulfite” and “sodium sulfite”; these are often triggers for people with asthma.

Wine & Beer

Many beers and wines contain those same preservatives (sulfites) that dried fruits do and they use them for the same purposes. In alcohol, the sulfites have been known to trigger especially “harsh” asthma attacks in some people. Again, it is best to check the packaging before you purchase your products.


Frozen or already prepared shrimp could also pose a risk. The cause? Those darn sulfites. They are often added to frozen shrimp and other seafood items. If you are eating out at a restaurant, it would be a good idea to ask if your dish was made with the broth from shrimp or other shellfish.

Maraschino cherries

They look pretty neat, with their bright neon-like red coloring. However, for asthmatics it might be best to enjoy and appreciate maraschino cherries from a distance. Canned fruits and bottled fruit juices (like lime and lemon juice) often contain preservatives that could trigger symptoms of asthma.

You can read more about possible food triggers here.

So, that leads us to what else can be done about asthma?

You can also check out Spanish-language resources from the American Lung Association:

  • Breathe Well, Live Well is an adult asthma self-management education program led by an American Lung Association-trained facilitator that is offered in a small group setting, with materials in Spanish.
  • The American Lung Association’s Open Airways for Schools is a school-based curriculum available in Spanish that educates and empowers children through a fun and interactive approach to asthma self-management. It teaches children with asthma ages 8-11 how to detect the warning signs of asthma, avoid their triggers and make decisions about their health.
  • The Lung HelpLine, 1-800-LUNG-USA, offers one-on-one support from Spanish-speaking registered nurses and respiratory therapists.

By The Numbers By The Numbers



for every Latino neighborhood, compared to 3 for every non-Latino neighborhood

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