An international study conducted by an Australian university has shown that eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids as part of a healthy diet can reduce asthma symptoms in children.
According to lead researcher Maria Papamichael of La Trobe University in Melbourne, children with asthma who followed a healthy Mediterranean diet enriched with fatty fish showed improved lung function after six months.
“We already know that a diet high in fat, sugar and salt can influence the development and progression of asthma in children and now we have evidence that it’s also possible to manage asthma symptoms through healthy eating,” Papamichael said.
“Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties,” she said. “Our study shows eating fish just twice a week can significantly decrease lung inflammation in children with asthma.”
The clinical trial involved 64 children from Athens, Greece, ages 5 to 12, who had mild asthma. Researchers from Australia and Greece divided the children into two groups and instructed around half to eat two meals of cooked fatty fish as part of the Greek Mediterranean diet every week for six months. The other children followed their normal diet.
At the end of the trial, they found the group who ate fish had reduced their bronchial inflammation by 14 units. Above 10 units is significant under international guidelines, researchers noted.
The study results were reported online on Nov. 4 om EurekAlert, the website of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.