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Chronic Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Diet Tips For COPD

Chronic Pulmonary Disease or COPD is a chronic condition of your lungs, primarily comprising of emphysema and bronchitis. Both these conditions make it difficult for you to breathe. Other symptoms of COPD include wheezing, mucus, fatigue and shortness of breath. A COPD patient needs to put in extra effort to breathe. Due to the extra effort your body needs to put in, it may require as many as 10 times more calories. Yes, it is that difficult to breathe with COPD. However, consuming too many calories can result in weight gain, which again makes COPD even worse.

Therefore, it is very important to keep a tab on your calorie consumption. And more than that, it is important to be mindful about what you eat. Yes, both eating healthy foods and keeping a check on calorie consumption play an important role in the better management of COPD as a whole. A poor and unplanned diet can lead to unplanned weight loss in COPD patients. This happens due to the extra calories burnt while trying to breathe normally. It may result in weaker muscles, reduced activity and shortness of breath. Therefore, it is important for COPD patients to fill up on some healthy foods which can help them feel active, healthier and maintain better lung function.


These 5 basic rules are the perfect way to go about a COPD diet:

1. Go for a balanced diet with lean protein, complex carbs, vitamins, minerals, fresh fruits and vegetables.

2. Avoid too much salt, apples, melons, fried foods, chocolates, soybeans, beans, cauliflower, cabbage, onions and peas.

3. Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages.

4. Be mindful of your weight, avoid being obese or underweight.

5. Eat 5-6 small meals in a day. Eat your main meal early during the day.

These foods are what you should be eating with COPD:

1. Healthy fats

As a COPD patient, it is important to keep a tab on body weight. However, indulging in a few healthy fats during the day will not be harmful for you. Include healthy fats like omega 3, mono and polyunsaturated fats in your diet instead of saturated fats. Healthy fat sources include avocados, olive oil, salmon and sardines.

2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a rich source of complex carbs, iron, calcium, fiber and vitamin A. Oatmeal with milk can be the perfect breakfast meal for a COPD patient. Milk is recommended instead of water because it makes the meal even more nutritious this way. The high fiber content of this makes you feel full for longer with lesser number of calories. Add fresh berries to make it healthier, avoid artificial sweeteners.

3. Beans

Beans, legumes and lentils should be an important part of a COPD patient’s diet. They are a rich source of zinc which is an important element in a COPD patient’s diet. Research shows that zinc can be helpful in reducing COPD symptoms. Men need 11 grams of zinc everyday and women need 8 grams. Beans are nutritious and inexpensive.

Therefore, they must be included in a COPD patient’s diet.

4. Cheese

Add some cheese to potatoes, rice or vegetables, this will make your food even more nutritious and will enhance their calorific value as well. Cheese is a rich source of calcium. This protects your bones from becoming brittle due to the COPD medicines. Opt for part-skin or reduced fat variety of cheese; avoid the processed cheeses.

5. Drink lots of fluids

Non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic fluids help your lungs stay clear. It keeps mucus thin, thereby making it easier for you to breathe. While eating, drink fluids towards the end.

6. Fill up on vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to worse COPD symptoms. Your body makes some level of vitamin D with the help of sunlight. However, when it does not get enough vitamin D, it might become deficient. Opt for vitamin D rich foods like mackerel, tuna and salmon.

7. Include proteins in every meal

In your breakfast, you can include eggs and peanut butter. During lunch, go for lean proteins like salmon and legumes for dinner. Proteins should be a part of every meal of a COPD patient. It boosts your calorie intake and nourishes your body with important nutrients as well. Foods like eggs, legumes and fish should be included in a COPD patient’s diet.