Meat-rich diet linked to asthma and hayfever

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Diet could play a role in the risk of developing asthma and hayfever, suggest the researchers
Diet could play a role in the risk of developing asthma and hayfever, suggest the researchers

Related tags Asthma Nutrition Saturated fat

High consumption of meat in a Western style diet may increase the risk of developing asthma and hayfever, according to new research.

The Australian research – published in Nutrition Journal​ – suggests that a diet rich in meat, poultry and seafood could be linked to higher incidence of asthma and hayfever in adults.

Led by Richard Rosenkranz from the University of Western Sydney, the cross-sectional study examined data from more than 150,000 Australian men and women – finding that dietary factors related to increased meat consumption were associated with an increase of between 10 and 25% in diagnosed asthma (AS) and asthma or hayfever (AS/HF).

“Looking at the analyses for both sexes, diets generally high in meat, particularly diets marked by greater consumption of poultry, seafood, and red and processed meats in females, and diets marked by greater amounts of red meat, processed meat, and cheese consumption in males, appear to be risk factors for AS and AS/HF diagnosis in this population,”​ said Rosenkranz and his colleagues.

“Taken together, these findings suggest that adherence to a more meat-based diet may pose risk for AS and AS/HF,”​ they said.

The researchers argued that a typical Western diet “is low in antioxidants, high in fat and saturated fat, and provides a surplus of calories.”

Diet and asthma

Rosenkranz and his team said previous observational studies of children have suggested that increased risk of asthma is associated with a low intake of fruits and vegetables, fish, butter and dairy fat, vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, selenium, magnesium, and omega–3 fatty acids, and a high intake of sodium, margarine and omega–6 fatty acids. However, they noted that studies of diet and adult asthma, have shown ‘less clear’ results.

“Among potential factors to consider in determining how a Western diet, or other meat-based diets, may pose a risk for asthma and/or hayfever are saturated fat consumption, exposures from processing or cooking, and fast food and takeaway consumption, marked by high intakes of sodium and fat,”​ said the researchers.

“Any of which could contribute to increased asthma prevalence by modulating the innate immune response,”​ they suggested.

Study details

The team analysed data from the ‘45 and Up Study’ – containing data from 156,035 adult men and women – finding that for men, the meats and cheese factor was positively associated with AS and AS/HF.

Poultry and seafood was also associated with AS/HF in men, they said.

For women, significant risk factors for AS/HF included meats, poultry and seafood, and fruits and vegetables. In contrast, the authors said cheese and brown bread were protective against asthma in women.

“Taken together, the overall pattern of these risk and protective factors suggests that adherence to a more meat-based diet may pose risk for AS and AS/HF,”​ said Rosenkranz and his team.

Source: Nutrition Journal
Volume 11, Number 84, doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-84
“Dietary factors associated with lifetime asthma or hayfever diagnosis in Australian middle-aged and older adults: a cross-sectional study”
Authors: R.R. Rosenkranz, S.K. Rosenkranz, K.J.J. Neessen

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