Many people are unaware to the fact that food and COPD are connected. But diet changes can improve breathing. When your body has sufficient nutrients by consuming a balanced diet, you will see improvements in your breathing. The following are some diet tips that can be of use when you have COPD.
- Focus on nutrient-dense foods
COPD causes fatigue which can prevent you from eating before you consume the nutrients required by your body. If this is the case then it is recommended that you eat foods that have a high-caloric content first. These foods include tofu, chicken, and baked fish. These foods are high in protein and calories.
- Eat often
You can eat smaller meals instead of eating big meals that can cause breathing problems. For example, some experts recommend eating six meals per day as they won’t require you to have too much energy to eat. You should rest a bit before you eat your meals as this will ensure you finish your meals.
- Up your fiber intake
You should get 30 grams of fiber per day. Since packing this much fiber in one meal is not easily possible, you should opt for eating fiber at other meals too. For example, having fresh fruits, whole-grain cereals, dry beans, and brown rice can help you get a adequate amount of fiber in your system that can make breathing easier.
- Consume protein-rich foods
When you have COPD, having foods rich in protein is important. You can consume foods such as peanut butter which is high in protein and calories if you don’t want to prepare food. Eating foods such as lean meat, legumes, fish, eggs, poultry, and nuts can help. You can even opt for protein powders.
- Increase your fluid intake
You should drink water, as much as possible every day. This will help thin your mucus and so your lungs will be clear. Try to avoid drinking during meal times but sip some water if you need to. If you wish to gain weight then you can also consume milk at times throughout the day. This will give you vitamin D and calcium.
- Have a heavy breakfast
If you feel tired later in the day then having a heavy breakfast is vital because you will have the most energy at that time. You can have whole wheat toast in the breakfast or you can even opt for a bowl of bran cereal as it will keep you full. You should ideally eat fiber-rich foods for breakfast and remember you need 30 grams of it per day.
- Cheese is good
Some COPD medicines can lead to brittle bones in which case consuming cheese can help. You can even get reduced-fat cheese if you want to lose weight. You can add cheese to various foods such as when you cook vegetables and potatoes. You can even add it to rice for a higher caloric value and nutrient value.
- Have smoothies and shakes
Smoothies and milkshakes can help people with COPD. You can use yogurt or milk for preparing smoothies and milkshakes. If losing weight is part of the plan then opt for low-fat or fat-free products. You can opt for fresh fruits so you get fiber and nutrients. You can choose fortified milkshakes too.
- Stay away from caffeine
If you want to get better and improve breathing then you might need to stop having caffeine. Caffeine can lead to restlessness which can increase anxiety. It can cause you to become more nervous and interact with your medications too. If you must have caffeine, then limit it as much as possible.
- Reduce gas-causing foods
Any food that causes gas should be consumed with caution because it can make it difficult for you to breathe. You should avoid consuming carbonated beverages, fried foods, spicy foods, beans, and broccoli. As foods affect people differently, keeping a food diary can help you point out which ones you can consume and which ones to avoid.