17 Healthy Snack Ideas for Asthma Sufferers

17 Healthy Snack Ideas for Asthma Sufferers

Eating and Your Asthma
Healthy Asthma Snacks. Hinterhaus Productions/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Unfortunately for asthma patients. there’s no one food you can eat or one food you should avoid to holistically manage asthma symptoms.  But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t healthy diet choices you can make to help you live a healthier lifestyle overall, thereby minimizing the effects of your asthma symptoms and making you a happier, healthier person. Remember "you are what you eat." None of these foods will replace your regular asthma treatment, but they are healthful ways to eat that may help your asthma.

Especially in the realm of snack foods, there’s a lot of things that you can pick that aren’t a great choice health wise.  So turn to these 17 healthy snacks as an asthma sufferer for a fun and healthy bite that will possibly reduce your symptoms and likely won’t exacerbate them.


Can Banannas Help Asthma?
Banannas and Asthma. dejanpatic- stockbyte- getty images

Bananas are a great way to curb a sweet tooth without packing on the calories, and this yummy fruit is also packed with micronutrients that can help alleviate asthma symptoms.  Vitamin B6 (or Pyridoxine) is a vitamin that helps keep bronchial smooth muscle tissues relaxed, which can help alleviate asthmatic contractions.  Plus, bananas are infamously packed with potassium to help fight muscular cramps that stem from heavy exercise and muscle fatigue. 

Unsalted Nuts

Unsalted Nuts For Asthma
Nuts and Asthma. Nils Hendrik Mueller-Cultura RM- Exclusive Getty Images

Most nuts can be a great healthy snacking idea , with their high fiber and protein content and their high ratio of “good” fats, and we will jump into a few specific examples soon.  Nuts leave you feeling full for a long time, so grabbing a handful of nuts as your snack could stop you from overeating later.  As an asthma sufferer, high levels of salt consumption can make allergies worse, so be sure that you always reach for unsalted nuts when you want to benefit from this healthy and hearty snack.

Oranges and Citrus Fruits

Orange Snack For Asthma
Oranges and Asthma. Martin Poole-Digital Vision-Getty Images.

Not only are oranges a tangy, low calorie, and deliciously refreshing healthy snack idea, they are also packed with health benefits!  The vitamin C in oranges is good for you in a whole heap of ways, from skin health to immune response.  And it turns out that Vitamin C is a good thing for asthma sufferers too: some studies have shown that lots of Vitamin C can help reduce histamine levels, and high histamine levels have been linked to asthmatic inflammation.

Dried Cranberries

Dried Cranberries For Asthma
Cranberries and Asthma. Lehner E+ Getty Images

Dried fruit is easy to store, easy to carry, and packed with lots of the vitamins and minerals that make fresh fruit such a great snack, and dried cranberries are a prime example of everything that a dried fruit can do right.  If you want to healthier option, make sure you reach for dried cranberries that are sweetened with real fruit juice instead of sugar.  Plus, cranberries are high in quercetin, another compound that lowers histamine levels.

Salmon Jerky

Salmon Jerky
Salmon Jerky & Asthma. Inti St. Clair- Photographer's Choice RF-Getty Images

If you want the high protein levels and all around dietary benefits of salmon in a snackable, to -go option, salmon jerky is probably your best bet.  This product’s high protein levels will help keep you full for a long time, and the savory, smokey nature of salmon will make this snack a complete joy.  Plus, Omega-3 fatty acids present in Salmon have been shown to decrease inflammation, which help asthmatics breathe easier. 

Baby Carrots

Baby Carrots
Baby Carrots & Asthma. Jenny Acheson- Photodisc- Getty Images

If you are a snacker that just can’t get enough crunch, baby carrots are a lot healthier of an option than potato chips or other crunchy snacks that are high in fat and calories.  Baby carrots are an easy snack to take on the go, and add a healthy serving of veggies to the day.  Plus, they are packed with beta-carotene, an antioxidant which has been shown to decrease contractions in smooth muscles in the lungs, which can be particularly harmful for asthmatics. 


Watermelon. © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc

Another delicious fruit that will help satisfy sweet tooths out there, watermelon is very low in calories and has a high water content that will help hydrate you while you snack.  Watermelon can be a hard snack to carry with you on the go, but cutting it up and putting it in a tupperware makes things easier, and it’s totally worth it from a health and flavour perspective.  Watermelon is high in lycopene, which has been shown to reduce exercise induced asthma.

Sunflower Seeds

hulled sunflower seeds hulled sunflower seeds
Sunflower Seeds & Asthma. Mellissa Mayntz

For snackers tha love to much on things by the handful, sunflower seeds provide a great high fiber, healthy option.  For the most health benefits and the least potential asthma related detriments, reach for raw and unsalted sunflower seeds, which you can buy in bulk without any additives.  Sunflower seeds are high in magnesium, which has been associated with increased lung function and decreased rates and intensity of wheezing.  Plus, you need magnesium to properly process potassium.


Almonds in and out of the Shell
Almonds & Asthma. Creativ Studio Heinemann Getty Images

Almonds have long been considered a “super food,” and they are also a very convenient snack that provides a whole host of health benefits.  High in fiber and protein, almonds will help keep you full like other nuts.  Almonds are also very high in Vitamin E, another antioxidant that helps lower inflammation which can provide some relief for asthmatic symptoms.  Vitamin E is best processed when consumed with Vitamin C, so eat a handful of almonds with an orange for best results. 


Pistachio Nuts
Pistachio Nuts & Asthma. © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

If it feels like nuts dominate this list, that’s for a good reason: nuts are some of the healthiest snacks around, and pistachios are no exception.  Again, avoid salted and flavored varieties to make sure that you aren’t consuming harmful additives, and to be sure that you are getting the most health benefit out of this snack.  Pistachios are also very high in B6, which as we mentioned can help reduce the intensity and frequency of asthma attacks.

Red Bell Pepper

Red Bell Pepper
Red Bell Pepper & Asthma. Jon Boyes Photographer's Choice RF Getty Image

To prepare bell peppers as a healthy snack idea, simply cut them into strips and munch away at them like you would a baby carrot or any other snack.  While it might seem odd at first to eat bell peppers raw and by themselves, they are a very mild and refreshing snack with just enough tanginess to be satisfying.  Plus, they have even more vitamin C than oranges, which again can be a great micronutrient for asthma sufferers to make sure they get enough of. 

Kale Chips

Kale Chips
Kale Chips & Asthma. Chris Gramly E+ Getty Images

You can buy kale chips pre-made from most health food grocery stores, just make sure that you don’t grab a bag that is loaded with salt or other additives.   Or, if you want to be sure that you are getting exactly what you want out of this superfood, make them yourself in a food dehydrator!  Kale is loaded with Vitamin A and K, both of which are important nutrients in a balanced diet.  And it is also very high in Vitamin C. 


Cherries & Asthma. Struk Collection-Photographer's Choice-Getty Images

As easy to eat as other bite sized snacks and just as satisfying, but with lots of the unique health benefits of fresh fruit, cherries are a great option for healthy snacking for asthma sufferers.  High in both vitamin C and Quercetin, that antioxidant shown to relieve symptoms in Asthma sufferers, cherries are packed with micronutrients.  And their pits make them hard to eat too fast, so you will be forced to pace your snack consumption. 


Walnuts & Asthma. © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Another nut on this list??  Yes, we could have just said that almost every nut is a healthy snack, but each has their own unique benefits that add up to a healthy snack regime.  Walnuts are lower in protein than some other nuts, but they make up for it with one very important compound: omega-3s.  Again, omega-3 consumption has been shown to reduce inflammation, and most Americans don’t eat even close to enough omega-3 fatty acids. 


Apricots & Asthma. © 2008 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com

Like oranges, apricots are high in vitamin C and a very satisfying tangy snack.  But they also pack on another amazing compound which is less commonly found in fruits: beta-carotene.  We mentioned this anti-oxidant already, but it is so powerful in reducing the presence of free-radicals and helping open airways that it deserves to be mentioned twice.  Dried apricots are delicious too, though again make sure they aren’t loaded with added sugar. 


Blackberries & Asthma. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

All berries have some great health benefits, with their high fiber and antioxidant levels, but blackberries are certainly one of the healthiest.  These tangy and delicious fruits can be eaten by the handful guilt free, as they have much less sugar than most fruits by weight.  Plus, they are also packed with potassium, which has been shown to improve lung function.  If you live near blackberry bushes, gathering this healthy snack can be part of the fun, and get you moving while you feast! 


Apples & Asthma. © 2015 Victoria Snowber Getty Images, licensed to About.com, Inc..jpg

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” as the saying goes, and while that claim isn’t always true by any means, there are some unique dietary benefits to apples that make them a powerfully healthy snack.  Apples are another source of the powerful antioxidant Quercetin, and they are also chock full of other vitamins and minerals, from vitamin C to pectins.  Plus, apples are so easy to eat on the go, they are a snack that won’t ever slow you down!

Continue Reading