When it comes to treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you might think of medical solutions first, but changes to your diet can go a long way in managing your symptoms. COPD itself is a term to describe long-term lung diseases, such as chronic bronchitis and asthma, as well as emphysema. It’s commonly caused by cigarettes, which is why many doctors encourage that patients quit smoking. As breathing difficulties progress though, it may be worth considering the following COPD dietary tips:
1. Concentrate on healthy fats
Weight loss is common with COPD due to the fact that you have less energy to eat. Healthy fats, such as omega 3 fatty acids in fish, can help provide energy while also decreasing inflammation in the body. Omega 3 fatty acids aren’t the only healthy fats available, though—consider incorporating olive oil, nuts, cheese, and avocados into your small meals.
2. Increase your protein intake
A high-protein diet has been found to benefit COPD better than a high-carbohydrate one. Fish, lean ground beef, and white meat poultry are all good sources of protein. You can also add yogurt, eggs, milk, and cheese into your meals for a boost. If you’re having trouble chewing, you might consider whey protein supplements and drinks to make sure you’re getting adequate protein. Plant-based sources of protein include tofu, beans, and legumes.
3. Choose complex carbohydrates
You don’t have to swear off carbohydrates completely when you have COPD. The key is to pick complex carbohydrates though, which come in the form of whole grains. A COPD diet ought to include foods such as oats, bran cereals, brown rice, and quinoa. Peas, beans, and legumes are also healthy complex carbs you can add to your meals.
4. Eat small, frequent meals
The symptoms of COPD can make everyday activities like eating a bit challenging. Plus, with frequent coughing, you may not have much of an appetite. It’s important not to skip meals though, as a lack of nutrients will further zap away the little energy that you have. Consider having smaller, more frequent meals to start, with larger meals saved for when you have the most energy to eat. You can also focus on softer foods that will go down easier with little effort.
5. Talk to your doctor
If you’re still not able to eat right, consider talking to your doctor. Along with the advice to quit smoking, your doctor may recommend nutritional supplements to make sure you get the energy you need.