Certain drinks may alleviate or worsen symptoms of asthma. Some drinks may have anti-inflammatory effects on the airways, whereas others may be an asthma trigger.

Asthma is a chronic condition in which a person’s airways react to certain triggers, which leads to swelling and inflammation in the airways. As a result, it becomes hard for air to pass through the airways, making it difficult for the person to breathe.

Drinks that have anti-inflammatory properties may, therefore, help with symptoms.

In this article, we discuss which drinks may help with asthma, which drinks to avoid, and other asthma remedies.

Man drinking coffee.Share on Pinterest
Westend61/Getty Images

There is some evidence that certain drinks may help lessen asthma symptoms. These include:

Caffeinated drinks

Caffeine is a substance that is in coffee, tea, certain soft drinks, and cocoa.

An older study suggests that caffeine may have beneficial effects on asthma symptoms. The study showed that consuming small amounts of caffeine could improve lung function for up to 4 hours.

The authors note that caffeine is very similar chemically to a drug called theophylline, which doctors use as a bronchodilator to open up the airways in the lungs.

Due to this effect of caffeine, people should make a doctor aware if they have recently consumed caffeine before taking a lung function test, such as spirometry.

Drinks with vitamin D

A 2016 study notes that children and adults with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to experience asthma symptoms and that those who include vitamin D in their diet are less likely to require hospitalization due to asthma.

Fortified cows’ milk or plant-based milk may contain vitamin D, which might help prevent asthma attacks in some cases.


Dehydration may make a person more likely to experience asthma symptoms.

A 2019 study found that dehydration reduces blood flow to the skin and affects how efficiently the heart works.

Exercise reduces airway hydration, which increases the risk of the airways constricting, leading to asthma symptoms.

People should consume enough water to prevent dehydration. Those who exercise regularly or vigorously may need to drink more. While many foods and drinks are hydrating, water is a simple way to prevent dehydration.

There are several drinks that people may wish to avoid if they have asthma. These include:

Sugary drinks

A 2019 study identified an association between drinking soft drinks and having asthma. Adults and children who consume soft drinks are more likely to have asthma. The study also notes that children born to people who drank soft drinks during pregnancy are more likely to have asthma.

A 2015 study suggests that children who consume 100% fruit juice and drinks with added sugar have a significantly increased risk of developing asthma.

While researchers do not know exactly why soft drinks have an association with asthma, it is possible that the sugar affects the airways. If a person consumes drinks high in sugar, this may increase inflammation in the airways, causing asthma symptoms.


Some people with asthma may also benefit from avoiding alcohol.

Alcohol contains two triggers that may make asthma worse: histamines and sulfites.

Histamines are chemicals that are present in the body and at varying levels in almost all foods and drinks.

Sulfites are a natural preservative in alcohol. Some manufacturers may add more sulfites to wine to prevent it from fermenting in the bottle.

Alcoholic drinks that contain higher amounts of histamine and sulfites, such as wine, beer, and cider, may trigger asthma symptoms. Some people may also find that drinking alcoholic drinks makes them more sensitive to other asthma triggers.

Several foods may also help asthma symptoms. These include foods that contain:

  • vitamin D, such as egg yolks and fortified food
  • vitamin E, such as sunflower seeds, almonds, greens, and pumpkin
  • fish oil
  • fruits and vegetables, such as apples, bananas, and green beans

These foods may have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. This effect may decrease inflammation in the lung airways, reducing the risk of asthma symptoms.

Food that is high in fiber may have a protective effect against airway inflammation because fiber affects the number and types of bacteria present in the body.

However, some other foods may make asthma symptoms worse. Western diets tend to be high in fat, which can increase airway inflammation. Research shows that young children who consume fast food and meat at least three times a week are likely to experience more asthma symptoms.

Find more diet tips for asthma here.

People can try home remedies or medical treatments to help manage their asthma.

Home remedies include avoiding any known triggers whenever possible. People who smoke may also find that their asthma symptoms, or those of their child or another household member, improve if they stop smoking. Consuming a healthy, balanced diet may also lessen the effects of asthma.

Medical treatments for asthma include bronchodilators and inhaled steroids. In severe cases, a person may require hospitalization and oxygen therapy.

People should seek medical attention immediately if they are finding it difficult to breathe. Anyone who believes that they or a person in their care is experiencing asthma symptoms should make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible.

Learn more about six home remedies for asthma here.

Asthma is a chronic condition that can lower a person’s quality of life.

Certain drinks may be beneficial in managing asthma symptoms. For example, caffeinated drinks, fortified milk, and water may reduce airway constriction. However, sugary drinks and alcohol may make asthma symptoms worse.

Some people may also find that certain foods reduce the symptoms of asthma. Food that is high in vitamins D and E, fish oil, and fruits and vegetables may have anti-inflammatory effects on the airways. Conversely, fast food and meat may increase the frequency or severity of symptoms.

If a person is concerned about their asthma, they should contact a doctor. Although dietary changes may lessen the symptoms of asthma, they are not a substitute for medications.