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COPD and Your Diet

(continued)

A Diet for COPD continued...

Choose non-caffeinated and non-carbonated beverages. Limit alcohol, which can interact with medications, can slow breathing, and may make it harder to cough up mucus.

Ask about certain foods. Certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, may help reduce inflammation and improve lung function. Ask your doctor or other health care provider if increasing your intake is appropriate for you.

Avoid salt. Salt (sodium) makes your body retain water, which increases swelling. This makes breathing more difficult. To reduce your salt intake, try to:

  • Read food labels and choose foods with fewer than 300 milligrams of sodium per serving.
  • Use no-salt spices.
  • Avoid adding salt while cooking.

Avoid foods that cause gas or bloating. Everyone knows how uncomfortable that full-stomach feeling is. And it may make breathing more difficult, too. To minimize gas or bloating, avoid foods and drinks such as:

  • Beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Fried, spicy, or greasy foods

Avoid empty foods. Junk foods such as chips and candy don't provide any nutritional value.

If you need to gain weight, choose more high-protein, high-calorie foods such as cheese, peanut butter, eggs, milk, and yogurt. Remember to ask about nutritional supplements to increase the number of calories and nutrients you get each day.

Make Eating Easier With COPD

If you have COPD, mealtime can feel like a chore. Try these tips for easier eating:

Conserve energy:

  • Choose foods that are easier to prepare. It's more important to eat than to prepare fancy foods.
  • Get help with meal preparation -- ask your family or friends for help, or check with local government agencies or church organizations about meal deliveries. Many are low-cost; some are free.
  • Freeze extra portions and take them out when you're extra tired.
  • Eat your main meals earlier in the day when you have extra energy.

Breathe easier at mealtime:

  • Eat sitting up, not lying down. This prevents extra pressure on your lungs.
  • If you use continuous oxygen, wear your cannula while eating to provide the energy your body needs for eating and digestion.
  • Take small bites, chew slowly, and breathe deeply while chewing.
  • Choose easy-to-chew foods.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Drink fluids at the end of the meal so you don't fill up too fast.

Stimulate your appetite:

  • Keep healthy foods visible and within easy reach.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods, especially your favorites.
  • Use colorful place settings or play background music while eating.
  • Eat with other people as often as you can.
  • Walk or do light exercises.
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