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COPD and Weight Loss: Improving Your Appetite

Bloating

Do you often feel bloated? Swallowing air, not drinking enough fluids and the lack of good exercise are common causes of bloating. To avoid bloating, try not to rush through your meals. Do not eat when you are short of breath. This may cause you to swallow air and make bloating worse. Constipation and/or poor intestinal function are other common causes of bloating. Include plenty of fiber and fluid in your diet. This will aid digestion and intestinal function.

Fiber is the carbohydrate part of the plant that human digestive enzymes cannot break down. Dietary fibers are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes (beans) and whole grains. There are two basic types of fiber. These are water-soluble and water-insoluble. Water-soluble fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, oats, barley and beans. These dissolve in water to form a gel in the gastrointestinal tract. They are known to have a cholesterol lowering effect. Water-insoluble fibers are found in products like whole grains. They help to maintain bowel function.

Fiber is Important for COPD Patients

Fiber helps to maintain normal bowel function and prevent constipation. For COPD patients, it is especially important to avoid constipation. It can cause bloating and pressure in the space below the diaphragm. This prevents the diaphragm from moving as far down as normal. So the lungs are not able to fill to their normal amount. This causes more shortness of breath. A high fiber diet also may help to prevent diverticulosis and obesity. (Diverticulosis is a condition when pouches or sacs develop in the intestine.)

Increase fiber in your diet gradually to avoid gassiness. Drink enough fluids. Eat at least two servings of fiber rich fresh fruits and three servings of high fiber vegetables every day. Choose whole grain crackers and high fiber cereals. Your total dietary intake of fiber should be between 20-35 grams per day.

Tips to Avoid Bloating:

  • Talk with your health care provider about the exercise that''s right for you.
  • Eat small, frequent meals. If necessary, drink fluids one hour before, or one hour after a meal. This will decrease the amount of food in the stomach at one time.
  • Identify specific foods that may cause gas and bloating. Gas-forming foods may include onions, sauerkraut, cabbage, garlic, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and beer. Only avoid those that cause discomfort.
  • Monitor your tolerance to fatty or fried foods. High-fat foods are digested slowly. So they can also lead to a feeling of bloating.
  • Lactose may cause bloating. Lactose is found in the whey of liquid milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and fat-free milk sherbets. You may eat real cheese because the whey is removed. In addition, some medicines may contain lactose. If you are lactose-intolerant, ask for medicines without lactose.

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