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Diet Changes Improve Asthma

This ‘Handy’ Cough Medication Might Save You $400 to $28,000

More people get asthma as adults than ‘grow out’ of asthma they had as kids.

Many people who had asthma as a kid assume they grew out of it. But you know those bouts of bronchitis you get every year or so, the ones the urgent care doctor gives you antibiotics for and the antibiotics don’t always work very well? You get those because you don’t really grow out of asthma—not entirely. And that means when you get a cold or a sinus infection, or when your allergies get really bad, it can stir up enough inflammation that it triggers a kind of asthma attack.

Adults can get “cough variant” asthma even if they never had asthma as a kid.

Unlike the more obvious kind of asthma attack that causes wheeze and shortness of breath, this kind mostly causes coughing. It’s called “cough variant asthma” and is actually the most common kind of asthma among adults, in my experience. If you have seasonal allergies you are at risk for cough variant asthma even if you never had asthma as a kid.

asthma inhaler
This is an example of an asthma inhaler that will effectively control cough variant asthma. They are easy to use and you can watch this video if the look of this thing is intimidating. This medication is available by prescription only in the US. The over the counter substitutes available in the US are not recommended. In fact, they may be dangerous.

What does it mean to “grow out” of asthma?

The reason asthma improves as you grow is simple: your airways grow bigger so it takes more inflammation to create a perceptible problem. You still have asthma, but you experience it less often; only under special circumstances. Most often something like a viral infection stirs it up. Do you ever feel like you got a cold that “goes into your lungs?” 95% of the time that is actually an asthmatic response. 

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Don’t wait until you wheeze. 

Most people don’t notice wheezes until the lung inflammation is very advanced. Before the wheezing starts, you get a bad cough. And when you get a cough that keeps you up at night or that interrupts you while talking, that’s time to consider that it might actually be asthma, and see your doctor to get proper treatment.

Who does this apply to? 

Everyone with allergies or who had asthma as a kid or who gets a bad cough every year. Especially if you get a bad cough around the time your allergies kick up, or when you get a cold. If that sounds like you, chances are something more than a viral infection or allergies is making you cough. If colds or allergies make you cough really bad and especially if you spit up mucus from your lungs, the virus has triggered your asthma. It’s actually your asthma flaring up that’s making you cough and produce mucus. And antibiotics don’t always work because antibiotics can’t kill viruses. 

In other words, when allergies and colds give you a bad cough it’s because the same irritants that stir up your allergies also stir up your asthma.

Ask for a Rescue Inhaler

I recommend that everyone with a history of asthma as a kid ask their personal physician for something called a “rescue inhaler.” Examples include albuterol and its branded generics like Proventil.

The same goes for people who have seasonal allergies that turn into a cough. That cough is the inflammatory response progressing from affecting just your sinuses to also affecting your lungs.

Related: Why does lung inflammation go out of control?

A rescue inhaler is a handheld device that delivers medication into your lungs. The medication helps relax the muscles in your airways that get irritated by the virus and start spasming, making you cough more. The rescue inhaler often makes you cough more right after you use it. That’s actually good because you are coughing up the mucus that can otherwise start to build up in your lungs and make you sick. When mucus sits in your lungs too long, it can get infected and you can get pneumonia that way. 

Visit your doctor for a prescription every year to discuss your asthma action plan. 

An asthma action plan helps you use your medication as little as possible but also every time that you need it.

If you have even mild asthma or cough variant asthma only triggered by infections, not only do you want to keep an inhaler around, you also need to be confident about when to start using it, how often to use it, and when to stop. For that, be sure to also ask your doctor for an “Asthma action plan” that will help you manage your symptoms with as little medication as possible. You need to make a separate appointment for all this so you give your doctor time to give you the proper information. You can make this kind of visit any time of the year.

You can’t expect your doctor to cover everything during your annual physical, that visit is all about prevention, and in fact treatment of a known condition during your annual physical may trigger a second bill. If you get bad coughs every year, you should discuss this with your doctor at a separate appointment from your annual physical so you can get the information you need to avoid ending up in the emergency room having trouble breathing.

You can do more than just take medications. You can change your diet.

Why do you get asthma from viral infections? It’s your body trying to kill off the virus and triggering an ineffective inflammatory reaction that gets out of control. Bacterial infections can do the same thing but are much less common. In fact, many people who get antibiotics that don’t help actually need asthma medication.

This happens in part because a diet of seed oils can deplete your body of antioxidants. And most of us are eating seed oils excessively. You’re eating an average of 80 pounds of seed oils yearly unless you are consciously avoiding them.

For help understanding how seed oils and other nutritional issues may be making you prone to inflammation-related health problems, and how to recover the fastest, please schedule a consultation.  

The antioxidants that you lack would help your inflammatory response to infections be more effective so you get over infections more quickly. The antioxidants also help your body reign in the inflammatory response so it does not cause excessive mucus or airway restriction.

You might think antioxidant supplements will help. But they can’t.  You’d be shooting be bees into a battleship, at best, and at worst you’d be accelerating the problem since most supplements are made from compounds that can also act as pro-oxidants.

A testimonial on controlling asthma with diet.

Here’s a story from Charlie Bailes [full story here] on how he controlled his daughter’s severe asthma with a few dietary changes that included eliminating seed oils, adding meat on the bone (collagen), and healthy fats. (They also cut out gluten which they have since added back.)

diet changes improve asthma
Diet Changes Dramatically Improved Vivian’s Asthma. Father Charlie Bailes founded CB supplements so Vivian (and the rest of us) could enjoy similar benefits to bone broth without making it from scratch. I support CB Supplements!

A single visit to the ER for asthma costs a minimum of $400. And if you wait too long, and your asthma gets bad enough that you need to be admitted, that’s going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

So don’t hold your breath! Call your primary doctor or a pulmonologist for an appointment and make your lung health a priority today.

Wait… What about a diet that can help my asthma?

If you want to minimize your asthma symptoms naturally, with a diet, the first order of business is avoiding seed oils [visit this shopping page for a massive list of seed oil free foods]. I also recommend you get started with Deep Nutrition. It worked for Vivian, and it will work for you.

For references on the connection between diet and asthma, visit:

With over two decades of clinical experience and expertise in genetic and biochemical research, Dr. Cate can help you to reverse metabolic disease and reshape your body.

Please note: Please do not share personal medical information in a comment on our posts. It will be deleted due to HIPAA regulations.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Hi Dr. Cate – I found you recently on Jesse Waters show I think – read Deep Nutrition & going thru The Fatburn Fix now! Thank YOU! I started doing Whole30 in 10/2018 due to my lifelong “sugar dragon”. In 2021, I did 5 Whole 30 months from 1/1/21 to mid July 2021 and got my weight back better and quelled the Sugar Cravings that have lurked behind the scenes. I used to put sugar in my tea & coffee, switched to honey & that after a few Whole30 steps I no longer sweeten them for a few years now! This article about Asthma caught my attention! I got Covid-19 on 7/25/21, went in hospital 8/3/21 & came home 8/19/21. I’m doing great, but have had a “dry cough” since them (tons better). Saw a Pulmonologist finally recently. Said my lungs sound great & my oxygen was great : ) He gave me a script for Albuterol IF I wheeze – almost never. I’ve had seasonal allergies forever, mainly spring, take Flonase & Allegra – still cough. Should I use the Albuterol without a wheeze or breathing difficulties to see if helps the cough OR give time for the NO Vegetable Oils to kick in first? Thanks sincerely!

    1. Using albuterol as directed is not going to impair any metabolic healing you are doing by eating better. It’s not ‘addicting’ as some folks are led to believe.

  2. Hi Dr. Cate,
    What is your opinion on cold pressed, i.e. non-homogenised high pressure (HP) adiabatic, processing of raw milk? Raw milk is banned in Australia which leaves HP processing as the only way to purchase non-pasteurized milk commercially. From the scant research I’ve read, HP appears to denature proteins (casein micelles and whey), inactivate both beneficial and harmful bacteria but leave the majority of milk enzymes intact. Would fermentation ameliorate this “harmful” processing, i.e. by adding live kefir cultures, or should I instead use almond/coconut milk and seek calcium supplementation from other dairy products?

    1. HP processed milk is better than the pasteurized homogenized products we have in the USA. And turning it into kefir can improve the nutritional quality. I would never recommend almond/coconut milk to anyone except if you just love the flavor and are not trying to lose weight. Those products are mostly empty calories.

  3. Hi! How much fat is too much fat? I used to follow a macro based program but loving the fat burn fix diet. I have this mentality that I need to log in a certain amount of grams of fat but wanted your input. Thanks for the great advice!!

  4. Do you consider all PUFA’s bad? Because isn’t omega 3 and DHA in fish and fish oil all technically polyunsaturated fat and even olive oil has some PUFA in it. So is it all pufas that are bad or just the seed oils? And why is that because I thought what made the seed oils bad is that they were PUFA’s.

    1. Please help future readers if you would by taking a moment to repost your question on this page where others might be looking for the same answer. Thank you so much for your help keeping the website organized!

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