Diet rich in processed meat ‘may worsen asthma syndrome’

Crispy bacon in a soft white bread roll.

A French study suggests eating four or more portions of processed (cured) meats a week may worsen symptoms like wheezing – but this does not amount to an asthma attack.

An asthma attack is a debilitating and sudden loss of normal lung function that may require emergency treatment.

The study of just under 1,000 French adults (42% with asthma) found evidence eating sausage, ham or dried sausage four times a week worsened asthma symptoms.

The researchers think compounds called nitrites, which are used to preserve meat, might be the culprits, as they have been linked to inflammation in the airways.

Some of the effect may also be influenced by obesity. It’s thought obesity increases inflammation throughout the body, which could also affect the lungs, so the researchers adjusted for this in their analysis.

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