Engaging in exercise and eating a healthy diet can help non-obese asthma sufferers better manage symptoms, according to a study, although they must do both and not just one lifestyle adjustment.

The study, conducted by a team from Bispebjerg University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, aimed to find out if non-obese asthma patients could benefit from a healthier diet and increased exercises in terms of reducing symptoms, in the same way it has worked for obese asthmatic patients.

Dr Louise Lindhart Toennesen, lead researcher, explained that asthma patients sometimes find exercise to be challenging which can lead to deterioration in their fitness.

The researchers looked at 125 asthma patients for eight weeks and subjected them to lifestyle intervention.

The participants took exercise classes thrice a week and engaged in a healthy low-glycemic index diet rich in protein, fruit and vegetables. Their exercise regimen included both high-intensity activity and gentle activities.

They found that participants who adopted both interventions had more improved reduced rates.

Findings showed that asthma symptoms could be reduced by up to 50 percent by combining both exercise and diet.

Doing just one - either diet or exercise - had a benefit of only 30 percent.

“Our study suggests that non-obese asthma patients can safely take part in well-planned, high-intensity exercise. It also shows that exercise combined with a healthy diet can help patients control their asthma symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life,” said the researchers, who were quoted by the Daily Mail.

The research team likewise noted that patients demonstrated interest in whether exercise and diet can improve their asthma symptoms.

“These are important findings since we know that not all patients have good control over their symptoms and consequently can have a lower quality of life,” they wrote in the study.

Meanwhile, Dr Toennesen and her fellow researchers will continue to look into the association of diet, exercise and asthma, to determine if changes in the lifestyle can become a means to eventually prevent asthma. MIMS

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