Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) is characterized by several lung diseases that make it increasingly difficult for air to enter the lungs. The main diseases of this disorder are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, but it also can include health issues from damage caused by asthmatic bronchitis. While COPD is incurable, several treatments can help with its symptoms. One of the best ways to control COPD is through a healthy diet.
Nutrition is important for COPD sufferers because being overweight or underweight can make it harder to breathe. If you are overweight, your body will need to work harder to get the oxygen it needs, adding to the stress on your lungs. If you are underweight, your body will be prone to other infections, which will limit how useful your lungs are. Eating the correct amount of calories will help you get to your ideal weight and take stress off of your body. Also, people who are affected by COPD need more energy to breathe than a person without the disorder, and so they actually may need to take in more calories than they would otherwise. By monitoring your weight constantly and eating a healthy diet, you will be able to determine the right amount of calories for your condition.
To start, make sure that you have a high-fiber diet. You should eat at least 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day. Great sources of fiber are vegetables, fruits and whole grains, such as whole grain pasta and brown rice. You should limit the amount of sodium in your diet because salt will cause your body to retain more water, which increases breathing difficulty. Avoid foods with more than 300 milligrams of salt per serving. Make sure you drink plenty of liquids every day. Having six to eight glasses of non-caffeinated beverages each day will help keep mucus to a minimum, freeing up your air space.
You also should avoid foods that can cause gas or bloating. In people without COPD, these foods can make breathing harder due to the gas they cause. If you have COPD, such foods can be debilitating for your lungs. Foods that cause this problem include carbonated beverages such as soda, fried or greasy foods, apples, avocados, melons, beans, broccoli, spinach, cabbage and cucumbers. Finally, if you take any diuretics, you may need to increase your potassium intake. Always speak to your doctor if you have a question about a certain food to ensure your diet is appropriate for your condition.