Does the Mediterranean Diet Reduce Asthma Inflammation?

November 20, 2018

A Mediterranean diet supplemented with 2 fatty fish meals per week can reduce airway inflammation in children with asthma, according to a new study.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are prevalent in cooked fatty fish, have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating properties.

To determine whether these properties apply to inflammation due to asthma, the researchers examined 64 children aged 5 to 12 years with mild asthma who visited a single medical center in Greece after following a Mediterranean diet for 6 months. Half of the participants supplemented the Mediterranean diet with 2 meals of 150 g of cooked fatty fish each week.

Pulmonary function was measured with spirometry and bronchial inflammation by fractional exhaled nitric oxide analysis.

From baseline to follow-up, fatty fish intake increased from 17 g per day to 46 g per day. Initial results of this intervention were borderline significant.

However, after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, and regular physical activity, the participants in the intervention group saw a significant effect on pulmonary function, compared with the effects of the regular Mediterranean diet.

The researchers did not find a difference for spirometry, asthma control, and quality of life scores.

“A Mediterranean diet supplemented with two fatty fish meals per week might be a potential strategy for reducing airway inflammation in childhood asthma,” the researchers concluded. “Future robust clinical trials are warranted to replicate and corroborate these findings.”

—Colleen Murphy

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