Lose the donut and you could lose your inhaler, too. People who shed about 8 percent of their body weight through dieting experienced a drastic improvement in their asthma symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and labored breathing, says a study published in the journal Free Radical Biology & Medicine.
In the study, 10 overweight subjects with asthma were allowed to eat only 500 to 600 calories every other day. After following the program for 8 weeks, the participants not only had fewer asthma complications, they lost about 8 percent of their initial body weight. (See why a 2-day diet can work for you.)
What’s the connection between your weight and your lungs? The main theory is that the lack of calories—which clearly led to weight loss—helped decrease the inflammation within the patients airwaves, says study coauthor Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D., neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore.
How? “On the days that they’re eating only 500 calories, that imposes a mild stress on cells throughout the body. But they respond adaptively to the stress by enhancing their ability to cope with more severe stress and resist disease,” Mattson explains.
You don’t have to try this extreme of a diet to lose pounds, though. Rather than opting for the calorie restricted-route, check out the Men’s Health Belly Off! Club eating plan—famous for helping you shed pounds while still eating the food you love. And make sure you know the different foods that can help (or hurt) your asthma.