Recommended Diet for COPD Patients?

Recommended Diet for COPD Patients?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disorder that includes two conditions: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Together, these conditions injure the lungs and airways, making it more difficult to breathe.

Typical symptoms are shortness of breath, persistent cough with mucus, wheezing, and fatigue (Read more about causes and symptoms of COPD). For patients with COPD, proper nutrition should be a top priority. A healthy diet can play a vital role in the management and treatment of COPD. A healthy diet won’t cure COPD, but it can help you feel better.

Why is proper nutrition so important?

All the body’s processes, including breathing, need energy. The body gets this energy from food, water, and oxygen. People with COPD are recommended to follow a healthy diet because:

  • When a person has COPD, breathing takes more effort and energy. Therefore, people with COPD need to get more energy and nutrients from the food they eat.
  • COPD damages the lungs’ capability to get oxygen, so proper nutrients from food become even more significant for the lungs.
  • A good diet helps the body combat infections. Chest infections are diseases that often lead to hospitalization for people with COPD; therefore, it is important to decrease your risk of infection by following a healthy diet.
  • Being underweight makes you feel weak and exhausted, and may make you more likely to get an infection. People with COPD use more energy while breathing than the normal person. Therefore, the pulmonary (breathing) muscles in someone with COPD may need up to 10 times the calories required by a person without COPD.
  • In contrast, if you are overweight, your heart and lungs need to work harder, making breathing tougher. Moreover, the extra weight may require more oxygen. To achieve your perfect body weight, exercise regularly and control your total daily calories.

Feeding the body with appropriate foods can help a person with COPD feel better, be more energetic, and aid maintains the best possible lung function.

Which foods are suitable for people with COPD?

Choose Whole Grains & Complex Carbohydrates

Select high-fiber foods made with whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates such as white bread. A high-carb diet may raise carbon dioxide production. Your lungs are tasked with breathing out carbon dioxide, the more carbs you eat, the more stress is put on your lungs.

Therefore, keep carbs to a minimum, but meet your nutrition requirements with whole grains. Moreover, fiber helps food to move through the digestive system and can help maintain blood sugar and cholesterol levels. High-fiber foods include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, bran, pasta, and beans.

Eat Plenty of Protein

Protein plays a vital role in the health of muscles, bones, blood, and immunity. As lung infections are more common in people with COPD, protein is an important element of the diet. Excellent sources of protein are fish, eggs, poultry, dairy, soy, nuts, legumes, and moderate amounts of red meat.

Don’t Forget Vitamin D (Read more about benefits of Vitamin┬áD)

Foods made with milk has calcium and Vitamin D that can aid to keep bones healthy. Many people with COPD have bones that become weak and breakable, and eating enough calcium in addition to exercising can help avoid that problem.

Moreover, high-protein foods give energy as well as helps to combat infections. COPD patients should try to incorporate protein in each meal. Good sources of protein are lean meats, eggs, beans, nuts, cottage cheese, and peanut or other nut butter.

Drink more Water

Drinking plenty of water can help thin and loosen mucus in the lungs and airways. Water, caffeine-free tea, milk, and fruit-infused water usually are good choices. Carbonated soda can cause bloating and offers little to no nutritional value and should, therefore, be avoided.

Know which foods to avoid

Particular foods can cause problems such as gas and bloating, contain too much fat, or are low in nutritional value. Foods to avoid or reduce include:

  • Limit salt: Excessive sodium or salt in your diet causes water retention, that may affect your ability to breathe.
  • Particular fruits: Apples, stone fruits such as apricots and peaches, and melons may cause bloating and gas in some, that may cause breathing problems in people with COPD. If these foods aren’t a trouble for you, you can include them in your diet.
  • Certain vegetables: There’s a lengthy list of vegetables known to cause bloating and gas. You can continue to eat these vegetables if they aren’t a problem for you: beans, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, leeks, onions, peas, peppers, and scallions. Soybeans may also cause gas.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine, that may affect your medication. Talk to your doctor to know if you should avoid or limit your intake.
  • Fried foods: Foods that are fried, deep fried, or oily can trigger gas and indigestion. Strongly spiced foods can also cause discomfort and may affect your breathing. Therefore, avoid these foods.

It’s important to stay aware of your complete health when you have COPD, and diet is a big part of that. Planning healthy meals and snacks can help you manage symptoms and minimize complications.

Disclaimer: All material on is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute for professional medical or health advice. Always seek the advice of your physician for any questions regarding your symptoms or medical condition and before taking any home remedies or supplements.