Seafood lovers breathe easy. Literally – it seems your favourite dish may reduce the risk of developing asthma.
Researchers at James Cook University have shown a diet rich in fish oil could help reduce rising asthma rates worldwide.
Their innovative study focused on a fishing village in South Africa.
Unsurprisingly, almost everyone there eats seafood.
Researcher Andreas Lopata says the team tested 642 people who worked in the local fish processing plant and discovered they were remarkably healthy.
“We found that certain types of [fish oils] were significantly associated with a decreased risk of having asthma or asthma-like symptoms – by up to 62 per cent,” Professor Lopata says.
Conversely, higher consumption of vegetable oil was associated with 67 per cent increased risk of asthma.
The results support a theory that rapid increases in asthma rates may be due to a global shift in diet, with lower rates of fish oil relative to some vegetable oils such as those used in fast food.
Certain kinds of fish oil have anti-inflammatory properties, thought to reduce asthma, while vegetable oils seem to have the opposite effect.
“Asthma incidence has nearly doubled in the past 30 years and about half of asthma patients do not get any benefit from the drugs available to treat it,” Professor Lopata says.
“So there’s a growing interest in non-drug treatment options.”
The information in this article should not be considered medical advice. Please see your medical professional for information tailored to your personal circumstances.
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