Asthma Prevention Tips - 5 Ways To Prevent Your Child From Getting Asthma
Today, we are talking about 5 ways that you can help to prevent your child from getting asthma.
And this topic was sparked because I was asked and invited to be a part of the worldwide summit and as part of the summit, I gave a one-hour-long presentation, all about nutrition interventions for asthma.
And in this topic today, I'm just going to talk about one little piece of it, which is what you can do before your baby is born. So in utero and as a child.
So again, as a part of this summit, we talk about what can be done in early life and as an adult, but we're going to just rewind and try to get as upstream to asthma as possible in this topic today. And this is backed by science and things that you'll be able to do pretty easily at home.
So I'm Ashley, Oswald, registered dietitian and founder of Oswald Digestive Clinic, where we help people improve and eliminate bothersome gut issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and or constipation.
You can schedule an appointment with us and we are accepting insurance now, which is very exciting, and then I will also link that summit that I just mentioned as well. So if you know anybody struggling with asthma, please share that or go ahead and join that right away.
So without further ado, let's go ahead and dive right in and talk about ways to prevent asthma
Ways of asthma prevention
So the first thing that we're going to start with is something that a mom can do when a baby is in utero, otherwise known as when the mom is pregnant. And that there is research showing that if mom is on a PPI, which is a proton pump inhibitor, it's basically a medication that's used for acid reflux. It can help to decrease stomach acid.
Research shows that can increase the risk of that child having asthma. And so it's really important that mom works with a knowledgeable provider to do as much as she can to try to taper off that proton pump inhibitor.
Those meds are not meant for the long-term. And I think the best combination of providers would be a functional nutrition dietitian alongside the prescribing physician because dietitians don't prescribe.
So the physician is going to help slowly taper while the dietitian is really key here and helping with those nutrition and lifestyle interventions and changes that really can help to prevent the need for that medication, AKA get rid of those symptoms so that that medication isn't needed.
And so the reason this is important, not only for preventing childhood asthma but for other things is that the stomach is supposed to be this reservoir of really acidic juices because that helps to start the breakdown of food.
So food breakdown really starts when we look at food, the saliva is secreted there are enzymes there that help start the breakdown in the mouth.
Certainly chewing is really important, goes down the esophagus, the food pipe, into the stomach, that reservoir that really churns and starts that breakdown of food and needs to be really acidic in order to do that properly.
So number one would be for a mom to work with a functional nutrition dietitian, and that taper off that PPI to help decrease the risk of the child, getting asthma from that medication, which again is research-based.
Now something to add here, a little bonus for this number 1 is that we also have research showing that when mom is eating more foods that are creating more short chain, fatty acids that can decrease the risk of inflammatory lung conditions like asthma.
So what is a short-chain fatty acid?
They're basically produced by those bacteria in our gut. They're mostly in the large intestine that eats soluble fiber and resistant starch. They ferment it and they create these things called short chain fatty acids.
The most notable is butyrate, and it has really powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, and also really healing for the lining of the gut, which might be a couple of reasons why we know that it can help to prevent inflammatory lung conditions.
So, all right, Ashley, what does that really mean?
Practical? Right. So means eating a lot of real whole foods, fibrous food, and a lot of colors. So soluble fiber, you're going to find that in a lot of plant foods, so beans and legumes and apples and asparagus and oats, and there's plenty more. So if you're making half of your plate, a lot of colors and products, you're going to be getting adequate soluble fiber and then resistant starch comes from some of the same foods.
You can find really rich sources of resistant starch from green bananas. So eat them slightly before they become yellow from cold oats. So like overnight oats can be a great source of resistant starch and then also from heated and cooled potatoes and that cooling process, a lot of this resistant starch is formed. So that would be something like a cold potato salad.
And a lot of people think of potatoes and they think, Oh, that's really bad for my blood sugars. I can't eat potatoes. Well, something cool about this trick is that when they're heated and cooled, they have less impact on blood sugars.
So actually, if somebody is struggling with blood sugar issues and diabetes, this would be a good way to be able to have some potatoes in the eating plan and not have it mess with the blood sugar in such a negative fashion.
1. If mom's on a PPI, I try to get a tapered-off. And then incorporate those foods that support the production of short-chain fatty acids.
2. Related to the type of birth. And I don't want to shame anybody. I know sometimes C-section versus vaginal birth moms don't have an option, so please don't feel bad. But what we also are seeing is, that this comes right from OB-GYN physicians that are experts in this.
We're seeing more and more C-sections that aren't actually necessary. So it's really important for you to have a conversation with your OB-GYN about this, especially if asthma runs in your family. Because what we know from the research is that C-sections are going to increase the risk of a child having asthma later on.
And so it's really important to do whatever you can to have a vaginal birth, or if that's not possible, what's been looked at now as well as during a C-section or after a C-section, there's something called vaginal seeding, and you can look this up and learn more about it. So you can properly bring this to your physician, but it's basically a cloth left to soak in the vaginal juices.
And then after the baby is born C-section, all that bacteria from the vaginal canal is rubbed all over the baby in order to help inoculate it with that bacteria that it's missing out on because of a C-section birth. And this is what we believe is really important to help with that asthma prevention.
So to give you to help kind of drive this home, we also know that vaginal birth versus a C-section birth, the baby born C-section without the vaginal seeding, it takes the baby a year in order to recover the diversity and those bacteria that the baby who was born vaginally has. So this could make a really significant difference.
3. Related to breastfeeding. And again, I don't want to shame. Most people know that breastfeeding is better, and I realized that some moms do struggle and it might not be possible for them.
But as much as able, we know that breastfeeding up until four months of age, just up until four months can significantly reduce the likelihood that an infant, that child is going to have asthma at six years of age.
So as much as able, just try at least to get to four months of age with that baby breastfeeding to help decrease the risk of asthma.
4. Trying as much as able to not have your newborn baby put on antibiotics within the first year of life. So this is going to be another conversation with the baby's physician or pediatrician, and if something happens and the pediatrician said, Oh, we could just do a course of antibiotics.
I would really recommend you just simply ask that physician if they think it's really necessary
Or if you can wait a little bit longer and you can even say, because you heard that for the research, putting a baby on antibiotics within the first year can significantly increase the risk of asthma and maybe asthma runs in your family.
And maybe it doesn't, but you could even include if it does run into your family, that this is why you're trying to be extra careful. And then also what we know is that if in the stool of this baby, it's found that there's a higher amount of those short-chain fatty acids, but I just mentioned that they're going to have a lower chance of having asthma at around age three to six.
So when you're introducing foods to your baby, usually around like six months of age, that's why it is important to introduce some of those veggies that we had mentioned, like squash at some point, and sometimes you'll want to start with kind of the least sweet and then go up to the sweetness. And this could be a whole other topic about how to reintroduce foods.
Now, some moms will include, starting with some form of like pureed meat to get some of that iron instead of using the iron-fortified grains and then kind of work up that way but basically at some point, including some of that colorful produce to help that baby's bacteria produce short chain fatty acids.
And also, I want to add though, and this is really interesting, the baby is getting those from breast milk and some formulas are being fortified with it now too, but actually, mother nature knows about this and she's kind of helping to make sure this happens because, in mom's breast milk, they're actually prebiotics. So prebiotics to probiotics, are basically food for the bacteria to produce these short-chain fatty acids.
So something called oligosaccharides is in breast milk and there are even probiotics in breast milk to help make sure this baby's microbiota is diverse and it develops as it should be as this baby gets older. So just really an interesting fact there.
5. What we know is that in the first few years of life for a child, is that if they're exposed to a pet like a household pet, or they grew up on a farm that can significantly reduce their risk of getting asthma.
So if you have a pet, that's awesome. If you've been thinking about whether you should get a cat or a dog or what's not for your new baby, I would say, especially if asthma runs in your family, this could be a really cool intervention. And certainly having a pet can help a child's development in a lot of other ways as well.
So if that's possible for your family, this could be the last kind of thing that you could incorporate to reduce the risk of asthma in those early years.
So I hope that you found this topic helpful.
And then again, You can check this: Best food for Asthma
So thanks again. I hope you all have a great day and I will see you on the next topic.
If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.
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