(Last Updated On: June 28, 2023)

What foods trigger asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. For many people with asthma, certain triggers can worsen symptoms and lead to asthma attacks. Knowing what these triggers are and how to avoid them can help you manage your condition.

Person sitting eating pasta at their workstation

Common Food Triggers of Asthma

Some people with asthma are prone to food allergies. In these people, the proteins in certain foods can cause an allergic reaction that leads to asthma symptoms. Some of the most common food triggers include dairy products, tree nuts and peanuts, shellfish, soy, wheat, and eggs. In addition to containing proteins that can cause an allergic reaction in some people, these foods can also cause an increase in mucus production which can make it harder to breathe.

Other food additives and preservatives can also cause asthma symptoms in some individuals. These include sulfites, which are often used in wine and processed foods, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is often used as a flavor enhancer in processed foods.

Symptoms of an Asthma Attack Triggered by Food

One of the most common symptoms of an asthma attack triggered by food is difficulty breathing. Another symptom is a feeling of tightness or pressure in the chest. This can be a scary sensation, as it can feel like you are unable to catch your breath or get enough air into your lungs. This may be accompanied by pain or discomfort in the chest area.

In some cases, an asthma attack triggered by food can lead to more severe symptoms, such as rapid breathing or a bluish tint to the lips or fingernails. These symptoms are a sign that you’re not getting enough oxygen, which can be a serious and potentially life-threatening situation.

Symptoms of an asthma attack triggered by food can be similar to those of a food allergy, which can make it difficult to determine whether they are being caused by asthma or an allergic reaction. Some common symptoms of a food allergy include hives, swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat, and difficulty breathing.

If you experience symptoms of an asthma attack after consuming certain foods, seek medical attention right away. Your doctor can help you determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and provide treatment to help you manage your condition and prevent future attacks.

Tips for Avoiding Food Triggers

If you suffer from asthma, you know how challenging it can be to manage your symptoms. Here are some tips for avoiding food triggers and keeping your condition under control:

  • Know your triggers: The first step to avoiding food triggers is knowing what they are. Keep a food diary to track what you eat and what symptoms you experience so you can identify your personal triggers.
  • Read labels carefully: Ingredients like gluten, sulfites, and MSG can trigger asthma symptoms in some people. If you’re unsure whether a food contains a potential trigger, it’s best to avoid it.
  • Choose fresh foods: Processed foods often contain additives and preservatives that can trigger asthma symptoms. Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources like chicken and fish.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, and whole grains. These foods can help reduce inflammation, which can make asthma symptoms more manageable.
  • Talk to your doctor: If you’re struggling to manage your symptoms, your doctor can help you identify your triggers and suggest a plan for avoiding them. They may also recommend medications or other treatments.


While living with asthma can be challenging, identifying and avoiding triggers can make all the difference. Learn your triggers, read food labels, choose fresh foods, eat a healthy diet, and discuss your symptoms and management plan with your doctor. By taking these steps, you can reduce your risk of asthma attacks and keep your symptoms under control.

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