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17-07-2013 | Respiratory | Article

Salad vs salbutamol: raw vegetables linked to asthma control


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medwireNews: Research in Japanese patients shows that intake of raw vegetables, but not cooked vegetables, is associated with improved asthma control.

Additionally, the team, reporting in PLoS One, found that modest amounts of exercise, even below government-recommended levels, were also linked to better scores on the asthma control test (ACT).

In the study, based on interviews with 437 patients with a mean age of 64 years, there was a significant correlation between raw vegetable intake and ACT score. Those who consumed more than five units (equivalent to handfuls) of raw vegetables per week had a median ACT score of 23 compared with 21 among those who consumed five or fewer units. However, in stratified analyses, differences in median ACT score were only significant in men and those aged over 64 years.

The authors also report that in patients aged 64 years or younger, those who consumed more than one unit of vegetable juice per week had a significantly higher median ACT score, at 24 compared with 23 in patients who consumed vegetable juice less often. However, there were no other relationships observed between the intake of fruit and vegetables and asthma control for cooked vegetables, citrus fruits, other fruits, or juices.

There was also a significant correlation between exercise and asthma control, and those who exercised more than 80 minutes per week had a significantly higher median ACT score than those who exercised less, at 23 versus 22. And in terms of the amount of exercise taken, those who exercised more than 3 metabolic equivalents (METs) per week had better asthma control than those who did less exercise, despite this being lower than the 4 METs per week endorsed by the Japanese government.

The authors, led by Motoyasu Iikura (National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo, Japan), also note that there was no association between asthma control and smoking, nor with drinking alcohol – a previously reported finding. However, patients exposed to passive smoking or those unable to pay for their treatment had worse asthma control.

The team says that their findings add to those of an association between asthma incidence and lifestyle factors but they say that so far there has been a relative dearth of information on the link between lifestyle and disease control.

However, they caution that as their study was conducted at only one center “further multicenter studies are required for universalization of our results.”

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Kirsty Oswald, medwireNews Reporter

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