Pneumonia refers to inflammation of the lungs, most often caused by infection. It can range from mild to life-threatening and may cause fever, cough, trouble breathing, shaking, chills, fatigue and body aches. According to the Mayo Clinic, pneumonia is generally treated with antibiotics, as well as rest. The best option, however, is preventing the condition from occurring in the first place. Dietary steps can be taken to help prevent pneumonia or lessen the symptoms.
Fruits and Vegetables
Since preventing on-set of pneumonia is important, particularly to those who are prone to the illness, are elderly or have weakened immune systems, a diet rich in antioxidants is important. Fruits and vegetables offer an array of antioxidants which have illness-preventing properties. Harvard medical specialists recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables in order to enhance one's immune system and prevent illnesses such as flu, colds and pneumonia. Many fruits and vegetables also contain anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce swelling associated with pneumonia. They are dense in water which is important since flu and other ailments that accompany pneumonia can cause dehydration. Consume a variety of fresh, colorful produce as part of a low-fat, balanced diet to reap most nutritional and wellness benefits.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that are known to help combat illness and improve overall wellness. According to BBC News, a study conducted in Sweden found that probiotics have capabilities to block growth of harmful viruses in patients with ventilation problems. The researchers suggested swabbing the mouths of critically ill pneumonia-sufferers. However, those who have mild to moderate cases or those wishing to prevent such illness may benefit from consuming probiotics through food. Consume a variety of foods that contain probiotics on a regular basis for best potential results. Examples of these foods include yogurt, kefir, sourkraut, miso and buttermilk. Some commercial products are now fortified with probiotics as well.
A study presented by the University of Maryland Medical Center in 2007 showed that honey is more effective in treating cough and sore throat symptoms than many over-the-counter cough syrups. Honey is a pure, natural remedy without additives such as alcohol that many cough medications contain which may be viewed as a benefit by some. Add honey to warm tea, water or milk for a soothing cough or sore throat remedy. Honey should not replace doctor recommended medications, but may serve as a supplemental anecdote. Keep in mind that honey is not suitable for infants under the age of 1.