Ever think a cup of joe in the mornings could help you control your asthma?
It might sound like a crazy home remedy, but we’ve got three reasons why coffee might just be an easy (and maybe tasty) way to prevent and manage asthma attacks!
First, and perhaps most obviously, hot coffee gives off steam. During an asthma attack, air passages swell and narrow, making it harder to breathe and causing wheezing or shortness of breath. Steam from hot liquids, hot showers, or saunas can help open the airways. Steam also helps with complications such as bronchitis and coughing by loosening up mucus.
The second benefit of coffee is probably why most people drink it: caffeine. Caffeine, while not as strong as asthma medication and inhalers, can also open up the airways and keep your muscles from working too hard. Even low amounts of caffeine can improve lung function, and the effects can last up to four hours.
Finally, brand new research out this month confirms previous findings that compounds found in bitter foods may actually help respiratory cells relax. Researchers have long thought that only our taste buds sensed bitter compounds, but it seems that several other cells in the body also recognize them, including muscle cells in the lungs which cause breathing difficulties when they contract. Interestingly, these muscle cells contain receptors for no other types of tastes.
However, on this last point, coffee’s healing powers remain limited. Simply drinking a cup won’t get you all the benefits of the bitter compounds, although your throat may feel better and more relaxed! The good news: scientists are currently working a way to capture these compounds and deliver them to the lungs in an aerosol, like an inhaler.
Do you have any home remedies for asthma? Post them here and we’ll find out if there’s any science behind them!
More educational asthma articles.
– See how texting can help children with asthma