A new study shows that processed meat is not healthy for people with asthma. Researchers believe that eating ham, sausages or salami more than four times a week worsen asthma symptoms.
The study was made in France and examined almost 1000 people. The group with the biggest intake of processed meat was 76 percent more likely to show more asthma symptom. However, scientists say that more studies on the subject have to be made to prove the link.
“In participants with asthma, worsening symptoms capture relapse or exacerbation of the disease, and in participants without asthma, worsening symptoms coincide with the asthma incidence and activity,” the survey stated.
Eating too much ham could be bad for you
The recent study determined that eating processed meat – such as salami, bacon, and sausages – four times a week or more could aggravate asthma symptoms. The study was made by scientists at the Paul Brousse Hospital in Paris. It tracked 971 people, monitoring specifically asthma symptoms, such as breathlessness, wheeze, and chest tightness. They analyzed data from the French Epidemiological study on the Genetics and Environment of Asthma (EGEA), and it was driven from 2003 to 2013. Half of the participants were asthma patients. The rest had no record of asthma.
The Dietary intake was calculated using food frequency questionnaires. Participant had to indicate which of the 118 items in 46 food groups they consumed. Ham, sausage, and salami were classified as low for one or fewer servings a week. Medium corresponded to one to four servings a week.
Among those who didn’t consume sausages, bacon or ham more than once a week, only 14 percent showed worse asthma symptoms. Among the group that ate processed meat one to four times a week, 20 percent had their asthma symptoms worsened. And among those who ate this kind of food four or more times a week, 22 percent showed more asthma symptoms. Some of this symptoms include shortness of breath and chest tightness.
The study was published in the journal Thorax.
Preservatives could be the link between processed meat intake and worsening of asthma
The researchers took into account influential factors that could affect asthma besides the consumption of cured meat, such as smoking, age, and physical conditions. They tried to eliminate this factor, and the link between processed meat consumption and asthma remained. Apparently, those who ate the most processed meat in a week are 76 percent risk of worsening their asthma symptoms.
The link between processed meat and asthma, according to the study, was the preservatives used to conserve them, which is called nitrites. These preservatives could inflame the airways. As well, they said that salt and fat could also play a significant role. However, they highlighted it was a statistical study, and they are not 100 percent sure about the link.
Meat, when is smoked or cured, has added preservatives and other modifications to change its taste or make it fresh for a longer period. This could lead to health issues.
There are not different nutritional recommendation for people with asthma
Though there are not enough researches that can prove the link between the processed meat intake and the worsening of asthma, experts say people should not eat a lot of processed meat, since it could be dangerous for health, regardless the fact of suffering from asthma. A high processed meat intake could even increase the risk of cancer and obesity.
Experts advise that people should eat no more than 70g of cured meat a day, which could be equivalent to one sausage and a rasher or bacon. On the other hand, the World Health Organization states that consuming 50g of processed meat or more a day could increase by 18 percent the risk of developing colon cancer. Currently the average serving of processed meat a week is of two and a half portions.
It is important to take into account these recommendations even if you don’t have asthma. The study suggested that even those without asthma could develop its symptoms if they consumed a high intake of processed meat.
What experts recommend is that we should not focus and worry about just one type of food, but we should have a healthy and varied diet. At the moment, there is not a special diet for those with asthma. Catherine Collins from the British Dietetic Association, advices people – with asthma or not – to switch to a varied and Mediterranean-style diet, full of fresh foods.
“Although certain foods can be triggers for allergies in some people, there is no specific dietary advice to manage asthma symptoms generally. For most people with asthma, a healthy eating advice is exactly the same as it is for everyone else: follow a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh and unprocessed food and is low in sugar, salt and saturated fat.” Said Doctor Erika Kennington, Head of Research at Asthma UK.
Source: BBC News