COPD and Nutrition

COPD or, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to mayoclinic.org, is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Cigarette smoke is the leading cause of this disease, but about 25% of people affected by this disease contracted it from long term exposure to lung irritants. Knowing what you know about us here at CGE, the keyword in this definition is, you guessed it, inflammation.  We’ve discussed several times the importance of decreasing inflammation in the body because chronic inflammation is one of the leading causes of several serious diseases such as; some cancers, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and atherosclerosis to name a few.

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If you or anyone you know has been affected by this disease, one of the main things you can do to begin your road to healing is to stop smoking.  I know this is easier said than done but again, it’s the first, crucial step to healing and reducing the inflammation in your body.  The next thing you can do to speed up the healing process is incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. Although a healthy diet won’t cure COPD, it will definitely help your body ward off dangerous infections in your chest, etc. 

Here are a few tips for those living with COPD and desiring to make a change.

  1. Try a low-carb diet – Studies show that a diet low in carbs helps lower carbon dioxide production. A ketogenic diet that includes protein-rich foods like salmon, healthy oils (olive, avocado), and grass-fed meats to name a few, can greatly improve conditions in COPD sufferers.
  2. Complex carbs only – If a ketogenic style diet doesn’t work for you and you feel your body has to have carbs, complex carbohydrates are the way to go. Some of these carbs include; quinoa, lentils, oats, skin-on potatoes, and beans to name a few.
  3. Potassium is a must – Potassium rich foods like, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, beets, and asparagus should become staples in your diet. There are several other potassium rich foods. These are just a few.
  4. Drinks – As always, drink plenty of water. Caffeine can also interfere with COPD medication so limiting your intake of caffeine is important. Make sure you check with your healthcare provider to see if you should limit it or avoid it all together.
  5. Avoid dairy products – Some dairy products like cheese and milk can contribute to mucus production, something that’s already an issue for people diagnosed with COPD. If you’ve noticed this as a side effect of eating dairy in your own body, you may want to avoid it all together.

As I mentioned before, COPD cannot be treated or cured with a healthy diet but eating the right foods can absolutely reduce the risk of infection that’s all too common in people with COPD.  Hopefully these tips will help you do your part at home to keep your symptoms under control.

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