Credit: CC0 public domain

A clinical trial by La Trobe University has shown eating fish as well as trout and sardines as part of a healthy diet can reduce asthma symptoms in children.

The international study found children with asthma who followed a healthy Mediterranean diet.

Lead researcher Maria Papamichael from La Trobe said that it was a potential cause of childhood asthma.

"It's possible to manage asthma symptoms through eating healthy," Ms Papamichael said.

"Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties." Our study shows eating fish just twice a week can significantly decrease lung inflammation in children with asthma. "

Co-researcher and Head of La Trobe's School of Allied Health, Professor Catherine Itsiopoulos, said the results were promising.

"Following a traditional Mediterranean diet that is high in plant-based foods and oily fish could be an easy, safe and effective way to reduce childhood asthma symptoms," Professor Itsiopoulos said.

Associate Professor Bircan Erbas, from La Trobe's School of Psychology and Public Health, is an expert in asthma and allergies, who co-supervised the trial.

"Asthma is the most common respiratory disease in young people and one of the leading reasons for hospitalization and trips to emergency for children," Associate Professor Erbas said.

"It is imperative that we identify new therapies that can use alongside conventional asthma medications."

The clinical trial involved 64 children from Athens in Greece, aged 5 to 12 who had mild asthma. Researchers from Australia and Greece shared the diet with half a meal and a half a week. The remaining children follow their normal diet.

At the end of the trial, they found the group had reduced their bronchial inflammation by 14 units. Above 10 units is significant under international guidelines.

Read the study's findings in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics,

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More information:
M.M. Papamichael et al. Efficacy of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with fatty fish in ameliorating inflammation in pediatric asthma: a randomized controlled trial, Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics (2018). DOI: 10.1111 / jhn.12609

Provided by:
La Trobe University


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