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Respiratory illness risk has been linked to various dietary patterns. Protective effects have been seen with diets that are minimally processed (fruit, vegetables, breads, cereals, beans, nuts and seeds; low to moderate intake of dairy foods, fish, poultry), akin to the Mediterranean diet, with its high intake of olive oil. Conversely, our “western” dietary pattern characterised by high consumption of refined food products has been associated with increased risk of asthma, wheezing and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), and worsen airway inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids may have positive effects in respiratory illness, as higher levels of DHA has been found to decrease the risk.
Vitamin C is suggested to be an important dietary factor in protecting against the damaging effects of oxidative stress in the airways, a characteristic of respiratory diseases.
Vitamin D is important in respiratory diseases and infections; supplementation has been indicated in the prevention of acute respiratory tract infection.