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Diet for COPD sufferers

32019image002.jpgLiving with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) requires more than a few adjustments to help the afflicted conserve energy and optimize lung function. Two adjustments should be eating well and maintaining a healthy weight, which may help keep symptoms in check and let COPD suffers live a more high-quality and active life.

“If you're overweight, you have to carry more of your weight around, making you feel more short of breath,” Barry Make, MD, co-director of the COPD program at National Jewish Health in Denver and a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Denver, School of Medicine, told Everyday Health.

Nutrition Tips

Before beginning any diet, speak with your medical team about the nutrition plan that is best for you related to your specific body and health factors. A nutritionist may be required, who can help develop a meal plan to best meet your needs and monitor progress along the way.

However, in general, people who have COPD should consider the following to maintain an optimal weight:

  • Monitor calories: The American Lung Association (ALA) recommends that people with COPD who are overweight consume fewer calories. If the opposite is true and you need to focus on maintaining or increasing your body weight, talk with your medical team or nutritionist about the foods you should be eating to keep the weight on.

  • Avoid fad diets: Fad diets are not appropriate for COPD patients. People with COPD appear to fare best with a varied diet that provides a good balance of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, according to research published the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

  • Focus on protein: Protein is particularly important for COPD patients who are exercising as part of their pulmonary rehabilitation plan. The ALA recommends milk, eggs, cheese, meat, fish, poultry, nuts and beans as good protein sources.

  • Watch your portions: Consider eating small meals frequently, rather than fewer large meals. Eating throughout the day instead of two or three large meals can help lessen shortness of breath.

  • Get balanced: Focus on consuming fruits, vegetables, dairy products, whole grains and lean proteins.

  • Limit salt: Consuming excessive sodium can lead to fluid retention, which can worsen shortness of breath.

A healthy diet is an important part of a COPD treatment plan. It can also help manage symptoms, and make people feel better overall by potentially increasing their energy level and giving their body the fuel needed to fight infection.

Click here to read the full article on Everyday Health.