COPD – Tips for a Proper Diet

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic lung condition that affects many.  Two medical conditions are the primary cause of COPD – emphysema and chronic bronchitis. 

These conditions damage the lungs and airways making breathing difficult.  If you suffer from COPD, you likely experience shortness of breath, chronic cough with mucus, wheezing, and fatigue. 

If you have COPD, you should follow a healthy diet because COPD sufferers need more energy and nutrients from their food, proper nutrition is important for better lung function and proper nutrition helps maintain a healthy weight.

Please note: before starting any diet, if you suffer from COPD, consult with your doctor.

If you have COPD, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides a helpful starting point.  Your diet should focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and lean protein like fish and poultry.  Try to limit processed and fried foods.

The National Emphysema Foundation recommends that you eat more fruits and vegetables for help with inflammation and infection and due to ease of digestion. 

To help fight off infections, eat plenty of lean protein such as fish, eggs, poultry, dairy, soy, nuts, legumes and a moderate amount of red meat.

Limit sodium (salt) to help with blood pressure which can affect shortness of breath.

Avoid simple carbs like sugary snacks, white bread, pasta, and many processed foods.  Simple carbs are broken down quickly by the body and result in more production of carbon dioxide which can be dangerous for those with COPD. Instead of simple carbs, choose whole grains and complex carbs like whole grain pasta and bread, beans, peas, fruits, and vegetables.

Minimize foods that cause gas like broccoli and Brussel sprouts or deli meats.

Drink plenty of water and stay away from soda. 

Dieticians recommend that those who suffer from COPD should eat more small meals throughout the entire day – up to six, and not three large meals.  They note that large meals take more oxygen and energy to digest which removes the oxygen and energy from being used in other body processes. 

If you are suffering from COPD, you should speak with your doctor to come up with a good diet plan to help you.

Having helped quite a few COPD sufferers obtain disability benefits, I know they are happy to learn of new ideas to help them manage their disease.

If you have been diagnosed with COPD and can no longer work, you may find our post Can I get Social Security Disability for COPD? helpful.

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Disability and Personal Injury Attorney
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