Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a condition that not too many know about despite the NHLBI estimating around 11 million Americans suffering from it in 2018. It is a chronic and progressive lung disease that does not have a cure as yet. But, there are ways to ensure longevity for people who suffer from the chronic condition by making changes to their diet and overall lifestyle.
You must understand that nutrition plays a key role when it comes to treating or managing any disease or condition. Food is one of the crucial fuels for your body and supports vital functions including breathing. Since COPD primarily affects the lungs, the function of breathing is also affected. Here, simple dietary changes can help provide relief from some of these discomforts. This article discusses the best energy-boosting and beneficial foods for COPD relief.
Fiber rich foods boost your energy levels. Oats are rich in calcium, iron, vitamin A, and fiber. So have a hot bowl of oatmeal to start your day. Oatmeal may not have much flavor or taste, but it is certainly one of the better options for breakfast. It is also a low-calorie meal, so you don’t have to worry about gaining a few extra pounds. Doctors recommend that overall, the body must get at least 30 grams of fiber every day from the foods consumed.
Protein rich foods help the immune system produce antibodies that fight the infection. It is also an essential nutrient that helps the body repair and build damaged tissue. So, you can switch to skim milk in place of whole milk for your morning breakfast cereal. You can also add meat, cheese, and legumes to vegetable, casserole, and soup recipes. Consult with your dietician and prepare a protein chart to incorporate more servings of meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products.
Fruits and vegetables
Antioxidants help the body fight off infections and keep diseases at bay. Leafy greens, sweet potatoes, winter squash, bell peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruits, mango, and berries are rich in antioxidants. You must incorporate antioxidants in your diet to gradually improve lung health and provide some relief from the discomforts of COPD. However, you must ensure there are no cruciferous and gaseous vegetables in your diet as they can trigger bloating.
Nuts and seeds
One of the major symptoms of COPD is chronic cough that is a result of mucus production in the lungs. Nuts and seeds are rich in unsaturated fats and vitamin E that help reduce the production of mucus. Lung problems can also cause you to lose your appetite. Adding almond and peanut butter to your meals can also help prevent weight loss. You must incorporate more walnuts, brazil nuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds in your daily diet.
Low levels of potassium in your body can cause lethargy. You might be surprised to find out that there is a direct link between potassium in the body and lung function. A deficiency can result in breathing issues, leading to complications arising out of other symptoms of COPD. This is the main reason why you must include foods like avocados, oranges, bananas, potatoes, beets, and asparagus in your daily diet.
Apart from eating the right foods, you must also drink plenty of fluids to supplement a COPD friendly diet. Hydration makes the mucus thin and easy to cough out, thus providing relief from congestion. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day and avoid drinking too much caffeine. This also includes soda and energy drinks. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation but ideally, it must be avoided completely during COPD treatment.