One of the best and easiest ways to manage the symptoms of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is through a healthy and nutrient dense diet. This would not only help you to not only keep the severity of the symptoms in check but also to maintain a healthy weight.
Tips to keep in mind when choosing a diet
- Managing Weight: It is essential for patients with COPD to manage their weight. The symptom of breathlessness could be more severe if you are overweight. You might feel fatigued and tired if you are underweight. Therefore it is crucial to monitor your calorie intake and therefore also your weight as recommended by the American Lung Association.
- Balanced Diet: It is essential for patients with COPD to eat a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet. One that is varied and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats or proteins according to a study published in the August 2014 issue of the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. A well-balanced diet will ensure that you get all the necessary vitamins such as C, E, and D that are necessary to help you cope with this condition.
- Protein: Lean proteins such as eggs, meat, poultry, nuts, beans, and fish especially oily fish such as mackerel and sardines, should be incorporated into your meal plan. These proteins are necessary for patients with COPD especially if they are managing their condition through exercise.
- Carbohydrates and food high in fibre such as lentils, oats, and beans will improve the functioning of the digestive system.
- Potassium: Fruits and vegetables such as beets, potatoes, bananas are especially beneficial in preventing water retention in patients
Foods To Limit Or Avoid
People react differently to foods, there are some foods that patients with COPD should limit or avoid but if they do not seem to have an impact on your symptoms you can make them a part of your meal plan.
- Limiting salt intake irrespective of whether you are a COPD patient or not is always a good step to take. But if you are a COPD patient excessive salt in your diet could cause fluid retention which could worsen your shortness of breath.
- Dairy products such as milk and cheese can irritate the respiratory pathways making phlegm thicker.
- Certain fruits and vegetables such as apples, cabbage, stone fruits such as peaches and soybeans can cause gas and bloating.
- Caffeine in coffee and chocolate could interfere with certain medications that you have been prescribed. Confirm with your doctor if you can still include them in your diet. Patients with COPD need to drink plenty of fluids and it might be beneficial to opt for non-caffeinated beverages.
- Fried, greasy and spicy food can cause gas and indigestion which can affect breathing.
Discuss your diet with your doctor or ask for a recommendation of a nutritionist who would help you to work out a meal or diet plan best suited for your condition.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!