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’re happy to share a few reasons why coffee might just be an easy (and tasty) way to mitigate asthma symptoms and help overall health!
Benefits of Coffee for Asthma (and More!)
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.
Research 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.
Coffee can provide even more health benefits beyond mitigating asthma symptoms. A healthy amount of coffee and caffeine a day could lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, protect against liver conditions, support heart and brain health, and lower the risk of depression.
Risks of Coffee
The benefits of coffee depend on how much you're consuming in one day. A healthy limit to set for most is 400 milliliters (about 14 ounces) or you can experience negative side effects like headaches and increased anxiety. Talk to your doctor about your caffeine intake level if you've felt negative side effects after increasing or decreasing your intake.
Coffee’s healing powers remain limited and coffee certainly isn't a replacement for medication. You won't feel immediate benefits from simply drinking a cup, although it might help more than you'd think!