Good nutrition should be one of the top priorities for people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The energy requirement is higher for such individuals as they need to put in more effort to breathe. The energy spent by their muscles to inhale and exhale can be 10 times higher than the normal standard. Since the calorie requirement is high for them, their food choices need to be better to support that specific need.
People usually feel concerned about the possibility of weight gain with such diets. But COPD diet focuses on providing nutrition and calories to a person via healthy food while keeping the metabolism steady. So, people shouldn’t worry about weight gain as the calorie expenditure is just as high for them. Here is a list of food switches that people can take on to be healthier despite having COPD.
1. Whole Grains Are Healthier
Whole grains are healthier than refined carbohydrates. Diets that are high on carbohydrates can produce more carbon dioxide in the body which means the body would need to exhale more to eliminate that excess carbon dioxide. 1 This heightened need to exhale would only put more pressure on the lungs and the muscles. Hence, whole grain foods like millet, quinoa are considered better than white bread by the dietitians as they are relatively lower in carbohydrates. Additionally, whole grains are also filled with good fiber that can aid in better digestion and produce more energy in the process.
2. Fruits And Veggies Can Provide Necessary Strength
Fruits and vegetables are not only high in vital nutrients, but are also high in fiber. Hence, adding fresh fruits and vegetables will provide people with COPD with nutritional goodness while aiding their digestion by providing fiber. Anti-oxidant vitamins like A, C and E can help in reducing oxidative stress in patients with COPD. 2 Hence, the goodness of fresh vegetables and fruits can strengthen people from inside while enabling them to combat the weakening effects of this condition.
3. Continuous Hydration Is Important
COPD causes breathing trouble which can leave people dehydrated. So, it is important that people pay extra attention to their hydration needs as good hydration can keep the lungs healthier. Keeping a bottle of water handy can reduce the chances of dehydration in people with COPD.
4. Milk With Low-Fat Content Is A Healthier Choice
Dietitians recommend people to consume a minimum of 3300 calories daily. This is why dietitians recommend COPD patients to consume milk multiple times everyday. Milk which is low in fat can provide protein, vitamin D and calcium along with some other useful fats to meet their calorie requirement. Other than milk, yogurt can also provide a lot of nutritional goodness.
5. Nuts And Calories
Nuts are nutritious, high-calorific foods that can provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and a large amount of calories to people. Thus, COPD patients can benefit hugely by adding more nuts to their diet. It would make their diet more calorie dense to combat low BMI as low BMI can be a sign of poor nutrition and failing health. Also, people can opt for nut butters to hike up their calorie intake.
6. Vitamin D Requires Extra Attention
Vitamin D deficiency can make COPD symptoms worse. 3Human bodies can produce vitamin D from sunlight after being exposed to it. So, people should focus on getting some sunlight and supplementing their diet with vitamin D rich foods like salmon, tuna and mackerel. Vitamin D supplements can also be opted by COPD patients to combat persistent vitamin D deficiency. But it is recommended that people consult with their doctors first before taking on the supplements.
This condition creates a necessity for very specific nutritional needs. Hopefully, these dietary changes will help people living with COPD meet those needs.
|↑1||Al-Saady, N. M., C. M. Blackmore, and E. D. Bennett. “High fat, low carbohydrate, enteral feeding lowers PaCO2 and reduces the period of ventilation in artificially ventilated patients.” Intensive care medicine 15, no. 5. 1989.|
|↑2||Tug, Tuncer, Fikret Karatas, and Selim Murat Terzi. “Antioxidant vitamins (A, C and E) and malondialdehyde levels in acute exacerbation and stable periods of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” Clinical and investigative medicine 27, no. 3. 2004.|
|↑3||Janssens, Wim, Roger Bouillon, Bart Claes, Claudia Carremans, An Lehouck, Ian Buysschaert, Johan Coolen, Chantal Mathieu, Marc Decramer, and Diether Lambrechts. “Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in COPD and correlates with variants in the vitamin D-binding gene.” Thorax 65, no. 3. 2010.|