A diet rich in fish can help reduce asthma in children, according to a new study.
Researchers at Australia’s La Trobe University found that asthmatic children who followed a healthy Mediterranean diet featuring fatty fish improved their lung function after six months.
Lead researcher Maria Papamichael says the findings add to a growing body of evidence that a healthy diet could be a potential therapy for childhood asthma.
“We already know that a diet high in fat, sugar and salt can influence the development and progression of asthma in children and now we have evidence that it’s also possible to manage asthma symptoms through healthy eating,” she says. “Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties. Our study shows eating fish just twice a week can significantly decrease lung inflammation in children with asthma.”
The clinical trial involved 64 children from Athens, Greece, aged 5 to 12 who had mild asthma. Researchers from Australia and Greece divided the children into two groups and instructed around half to eat two meals of cooked fatty fish (of at least 150 grams) as part of the Greek Mediterranean diet every week for six months. The remaining children followed their normal diet.
At the end of the trial, they found the group who ate fish had reduced their bronchial inflammation by 14 units. Above 10 units is significant under international guidelines.