There is no special diet that COPD patients should absolutely follow, but still the food you eat can have an impact on your symptoms and your health and well-being in general.
As for every other person, healthy diet for a COPD patient is essential, and should include vegetables, fruit, healthy fat, protein and whole grains.
However, there are other things COPD patients should be aware of:
Loading up on fruits and vegetables: the National Emphysema Foundation say plant foods help fight inflammation and infection. They are also easy to digest and provide the body with energy. However, certain fruit like apples, apricots, peaches and melons, and certain vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, corn, leeks, onions, peas, peppers and scallions can cause bloating and gas and should thus be avoided if possible.
Eating plenty of protein: protein plays a key role in the health of muscles, bones, blood, and immunity. Because lung infections are more common in people with COPD, protein is an important component of the diet. Good sources of protein include fish, eggs, poultry, dairy, soy, nuts, legumes, and moderate amounts of red meat.
Minimizing sodium: too much sodium can increase blood pressure and make shortness of breath worse in people with COPD. It can also cause the body to retain more fluids, which can be a common problem in people with COPD.
Avoiding simple carbohydrates: these are in foods such as sugary snacks, white bread, pasta, and many processed foods, which usually offer little to no fiber and nutrients. These types of food are broken down quickly in the body, which results in the production of more carbon dioxide. This is dangerous for a person with COPD, because they may not be able to take in enough oxygen to get rid of the excess carbon dioxide.
Choosing whole grains and complex carbohydrates: people with COPD should try to eat whole grain pasta and bread, beans, peas, fruits, and vegetables, which will minimize the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced by food.
Avoiding foods that cause gas: cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts and foods with sulfites such as deli meats may need to be avoided if they cause indigestion or bloating.
Drinking plenty of water: staying hydrated can help thin and loosen mucus in the lungs and airways. Water, caffeine-free tea, milks, and fruit-infused water are generally good choices. Limit or avoid caffeine altogether, as it could interfere with your medication. Caffeinated drinks include coffee, tea, sodas, and energy drinks, such as Red Bull. However, if appetite is low, fluids may need to be avoided 30 minutes before meals to allow the stomach to feel more empty. Some people with COPD may need to restrict fluids if they are retaining water. A doctor or dietitian can advise the amount of fluid needed in these cases.
Surveilling the size and frequency of meals: eating three large meals a day can make COPD symptoms feel worse. A large meal takes more energy and oxygen to digest. This means the body has less oxygen for other functions. Large meals may also cause bloating and indigestion, which can make shortness of breath feel worse. Six small meals a day can help keep energy levels stable, and will generally be easier to digest. It can also feel less overwhelming and stressful to sit down and eat smaller portions when breathing can be difficult.
Eating soft or pureed foods: some people with COPD may find that eating can be difficult, especially as the disease progresses. Breathing while chewing food and swallowing can be challenging when a person is short of breath. This can lead to more weight loss, as the person may not feel like putting in the effort to eat, or may lose their appetite. To help reduce some of the effort in chewing and eating, people with COPD may wish to try soft or pureed foods, such as: cooked vegetables and fruits instead of raw, ground meats in place of steaks and whole chicken breasts, soups made with well-cooked or puréed meats and vegetables, well-cooked whole grain pasta and rice, smoothies, which can be made with protein powder, yogurt, fruit, and vegetables.
Are you paying attention to your diet?
If yes, have you already consulted your doctor or a dietetician? What were the recommendations?
Have you got any tips to share or questions to ask? If yes, then go ahead, don't by shy