Increasing fruit consumption and eating fish at least once a month could reduce the risk of children developing asthma and cough, according to researchers, who looked at the protective effect of fruit and fish on coughing and wheezing in over 20,000 children from six Central and Eastern European countries. The research found a clear association between low fish intake (less than once a month) and persistent cough and wheeze, while low fruit consumption was associated with cough.
Dr John Harvey of the British Thoracic Society commented that “there is a growing body of evidence showing that a diet rich in fruit can help children maintain good lung health and it is safe to say that eating fish in moderation as part of a healthy diet could help to reduce the risk of asthma. The role of nutrition in preventing lung problems is a fascinating area and needs far more research.”
Researchers believe that the possible protective effects of fish on health may be due to the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, which may alleviate certain inflammatory respiratory disease. Fruit and vegetables are rich sources of a variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and fibre – all of which have antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral effects and assist in detoxification and stimulation of the immune system.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, March 2003