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Can a food allergy affect my asthma?

Food and food allergies are not common asthma triggers. Your asthma can be affected by an underlying food allergy. There can be an indirect connection between eating a certain food, a reaction to it, and having asthma symptoms. For example, having underlying asthma can affect how you react during an allergic reaction to a food. Having asthma can make allergic reactions to foods worse.

There are individuals with food allergies who do not have a history of asthma. These patients can experience respiratory symptoms during an allergic reaction. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. These are not due to asthma.

Finally, one common example of a food allergen that can directly cause asthma symptoms is sulfites. These are chemicals and certain types of preservatives used in foods. They can trigger asthma if you are sensitive to them. High-sulfite foods include:

  • Dried fruits and vegetables
  • Wine and beer
  • Bottled lime and lemon juice
  • Pickled foods

If you are sensitive to sulfites, it's best to avoid these foods.

Asthma, Food Allergy
Answered by

John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

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