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Diet and COPD - Part 2

Desmond | Lead Clinician

May-29-2022 | Physiology

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It was established from the previous article, that the right mix of nutrients can make breathing easier in COPD patients. The right choice of food is to be tailored to your overall objective -weight gain or weight loss.

To help lose weight, you can opt for fresh fruits and vegetables over bread and pasta for the majority of your complex carbohydrates. Gaining weight on the contrary demands a variety of whole-grain carbohydrates and fresh fruits and vegetables. Limit simple carbohydrates, including table sugar, candy, cake, and regular soft drinks.

A good source of protein at least twice a day helps to maintain strong respiratory muscles. Good choices include milk, eggs, cheese, meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and dried beans. To lose weight, choose low-fat sources of protein such as lean meats and low-fat dairy products. To gain weight, choose proteins with higher fat content, such as whole milk, whole milk cheese, and yogurt.

Choose mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which do not contain cholesterol. These are fats that are predominantly from plant sources, such as canola, safflower, and corn oils. To lose weight, limit your intake of these fats, and to gain weight add these types of fats to your meals. Limit foods that contain trans fats and saturated fat. For example, butter, lard, fat and skin from meat, hydrogenated vegetable oils, fried foods, cookies, crackers, and pastries. 

Often, people with COPD take steroids. Long-term use of steroids may increase your need for calcium. Consider taking calcium supplements which include vitamin D. Before adding these, be sure to speak with your general practitioner first.

Too much sodium may cause swelling that may increase blood pressure. If high blood pressure is a health problem for you, cut down on your dietary salt intake. 

Drinking plenty of water is important not only to keep you hydrated but also to help keep mucus thin for easier removal. A good goal for many people is 6 to 8 glasses daily. Don’t try to drink this much fluid at once, spread it out over the entire day. Remember that, any healthy caffeine-free fluid counts toward your fluid goal.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, or as the substitute for the medical advice of a physician.