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Foods That Can Irritate COPD

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often suffer from irreversible lung damage due to its progressive nature. Currently there is not a cure for this condition, however, patients can take steps to manage their symptoms including smoking cessation and exercising. Diet can also play a significant role as certain foods can irritate the disease. It is recommended that patients should avoid or consume the following foods “in small quantities.”

feb2018004Fried Foods
Not only does the grease in fried foods cause digestive issues, but “the breakdown of fats takes longer in the digestive system and a sensation of being bloating can occur in the abdomen.” In turn, these side effects cause patients to experience pain, breathing difficulties and also weight gain due to the additional fat that accumulates. Common fried foods that should be avoided include fried chicken, french fries and onion rings.

Aerated Beverages
Beverages that have been aerated with carbon dioxide, such as sodas and energy drinks, increase pressure in the middle of patients’ torsos which, in turn, impacts their ability to breathe. To avoid potential symptoms associated with aerated drinks, patients with COPD should instead drink water “and allow the body enough fluid to carry out all metabolic activities.”

Excess Salt
Although salt intake is critical to “maintain a healthy sodium balance in the body,” it is vital to avoid a high intake of it since it can result in water retention, also known as edema. If COPD patients continue to consume high quantities of salt, they will likely experience trouble breathing as the extra water acts similar to excess fat when located around the diaphragm.

Dairy Products
When individuals consume dairy products, “a product of the breakdown of milk digestion” known as casomorphine increases the amount of mucus and phlegm produced. To expel the excess mucus and phlegm, the body generally coughs it out. For patients with COPD, coughing and wheezing can lead to a significant amount of discomfort. Common foods and beverages containing dairy that should be consumed less frequently include milk, ice cream and cheese.

Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli and cabbage have numerous benefits, yet they also contain extra fiber that causes indigestion, bloating and breathing difficulties resulting from “extra gas generated in the system.” Although these vegetables do not need to be completely removed from patients’ diets, it is extremely helpful to limit consumption.

Cold Cuts and Cured Meats
Processed meats, including bacon, cold cuts and hot dogs contain preservatives to extend their shelf life. However, these additives are unhealthy to consume especially for those living with COPD. In fact, lung conditions may actually worsen if patients eat large portions of the nitrates contained in these foods.

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