If you have COPD or care for a loved one with the condition, you know just how difficult it can be to get through the day and accomplish what you have set out to do. What you might not know is that what you eat can have a direct impact on your COPD. Some foods can help to improve your condition, while others can make it worse, So before you take your next bite, read on.
Good Foods to Include in a COPD Diet
One goal every person with COPD should have is to eat foods that are anti-inflammatory and avoid those that increase mucous production. One food that should be on your plate is protein. By adding extra protein to your meals, you will be increasing the production of antibodies that will help you fight infections. Consider including beans, meat, and fish with your meals.
Your diet should also consist of plenty of vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. These foods are anti-inflammatory in nature. This is important because your body’s response to disease is inflammation. Some great anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Mostly all vegetables — eat a variety of colorful veggies, from orange carrots to leafy greens
- Millet, quinoa, and other whole grains
- Salmon and other types of seafood that are rich in Omega 3s
There are also some foods that go above and beyond the normal anti-inflammatory foods and these include both turmeric and ginger.
Foods to Avoid with COPD
Of course, there are foods that you should avoid, too. These include all dairy products such as milk, cheese, and ice cream. Yogurt falls into this category, as well. These foods tend to increase mucus production.
If you really need milk for coffee or cereal, you might want to consider using soy, coconut, or almond milk instead.
When it comes to your diet for COPD, you’ll also want to avoid salty foods. Salt tends to cause people to retain water. This is an issue for those with COPD because extra water can make breathing more difficult. If you miss the flavor of salt, try replacing it with new and interesting spices and herbs that you may not have used before, or use a salt substitute.
While eating a variety of vegetables is wonderful for COPD, those with the lung disease should avoid cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower. These types of vegetables can cause gas, bloating, and excess pressure that makes it more difficult to breathe.
Finally, avoid any carbonated beverages like soft drinks, sparkling wines or waters, or beer. These beverages can lead to bloating and gas which causes abdominal pressure. In addition, the sugar found in these drinks can cause dehydration. As someone with COPD, it is important to stay as hydrated as possible. That means water is always your best choice.
Quick Tips for Eating Right with COPD
While it may seem like a lot to keep in mind when dealing with foods for COPD, it can all really just be boiled down to these five tips:
- Eat a balanced diet, consisting of healthy, nutritious foods
- Avoid dairy, salt, and processed foods (such as lunch meats and even bacon)
- Skip bubbly beverages and stick with water
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Do your “homework” before eating out, figuring out what you can and can’t eat on the menu and opting for substitutions
While COPD is a chronic disease, it doesn’t mean you can’t manage the symptoms. By controlling your diet and avoiding mucus causing foods, you’ll find that you breathe a little easier, and feel a bit healthier overall.
Have you noticed a difference if you’ve eaten or avoided eating any of these foods? Let us know your thoughts — and any good recipe recommendations for people with COPD — in the comments below!