(Foreword: This is the continuation of our response to our letter to Natty of Davao del Sur, regarding her query whether diet can help her prevent her asthma.)

DEAR Natty of Davao del Sur,

The last time, we talked about the results of the study which strongly encourages the promotion of healthy diets for preventing asthma symptoms and managing the disease.

The question now that props is how could food influence asthma?

Remember that dietary components like fruit, vegetables, and fiber have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which are the elements in a healthy diet that potentially lower the symptoms. The problem lies on frequently eating sugar and meat and salt because they have elements with pro-inflammatory capacities that may potentially worsen the symptoms of asthma.

So the moral of the story is, eat right. Do not eat what you want. Eat what is right, even if it’s not what you really want. It is just a mindset. There are times when I would be tempted to get pork steak, humba, or those deep fried yummys over vegetable dishes. But, if I would think of those calories and counting them and hurting my cardiovascular system, my appetite for them would just vanish in a poof. So, you can probably try that. If you will be faced again with cake against boiled kamote or corn, I hope you will find the right decision. After all, it’s your life you’ll live. You can either choose to breathe easy or hard.

As a matter of fact, it has been known that healthy eating plans such as the Mediterranean diet can improve the health of patients with cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

We always have to keep in mind that when foods are ingested and are broken down in the digestive tract, some of the components are bioactive. And in some ways this is no different than medications we are taking. For this, let me give you one of the quotes of Hippocrates that I love, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

There is another potential link which tied healthy diets to better asthma control. This may lie in the makeup of an individual's "microbiome”. This is about to go to the many bacteria which normally inhabit the gut. It is believed that the microbiome associated with healthy diets has anti-inflammatory properties. But, sometimes, this normal bacterial flora maybe disturbed by taking antibiotics for quite some time.

Good luck!

Dr. Fritz

(Dr. Fritz Legarde Espedilla is an aesthetic dermatologist and surgeon and a clinical sexologist. She is also trained in hypnotherapy and Medical Acupuncture. She has been in the broadcast media for more than a decade and has written a book based on her 15 year stint with her radio program, “Healthy is Sexy Secrets ni Dr. Fritz.” She is also a faculty in a College of Pharmacy. For your questions, you may send them to Dear Dr. Fritz, c/o Sunstar-Davao Publishing Inc., Ebro-Pelayo Building, Jacinto St., Davao City, or you e-mail them to dokfritz@yahoo.com. If you don’t wish your letter to be published, we regret that we cannot answer them. Thank you for your understanding.)