Asthma is another disease that can benefit from the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil. According to the American Lung Association, asthma afflicts almost 20 million Americans, including 7 million children. Its prevalence is growing at an alarming rate and some of that increase is attributed to a change in dietary habits. When populations around the world switch from a traditional diet consisting mainly of fruits, vegetables, and fish to one high in salt, animal fats, and highly processed vegetable oils, with few plant foods, the rate of asthma tends to go up.
Asthma is a life-long disease that has no known cure, but preventative steps, including adopting healthy dietary habits, can help alleviate its effects. In short, asthma attacks occur when the airway passages that direct oxygen in and out of the lungs become inflamed, swollen, and obstructed with extra mucus. The muscles that wrap around the airways can also become irritated and tighten, narrowing the passageways even further and causing what many asthma sufferers recognize as an “asthma attack”.
For sufferers of asthma, adopting a Mediterranean Diet has been shown to provide benefits that can help bring asthma under control. Like many other diseases that are aggravated by inflammation or restricted blood flow, it is the strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of this style of eating that make a difference. The anti-oxidants provided by fresh fruits and vegetables are very likely to improve lung and airway support, as are the rich array of anti-inflammatory compounds found in core elements, such as extra virgin olive oil, of this healthier way of eating.