The role of nutrition in asthma prevention and treatment

Nutr Rev. 2020 Nov 1;78(11):928-938. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuaa005.


Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterized by airway inflammation and hyperreactivity. Prevalence has continued to rise in recent decades as Western dietary patterns have become more pervasive. Evidence suggests that diets emphasizing the consumption of plant-based foods might protect against asthma development and improve asthma symptoms through their effects on systemic inflammation, oxidation, and microbial composition. Additionally, increased fruit and vegetable intake, reduced animal product consumption, and weight management might mediate cytokine release, free radical damage, and immune responses involved in the development and course of asthma. The specific aim of this review paper is to examine the current literature on the associations between dietary factors and asthma risk and control in children and adults. Clinical trials examining the mechanism(s) by which dietary factors influence asthma outcomes are necessary to identify the potential use of nutritional therapy in the prevention and management of asthma.

Keywords: asthma; diet; inflammation; plant-based; vegan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / prevention & control
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Child
  • Diet*
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Status