Living with COPD: Best Food Choices for You


COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), refers to a group of diseases that cause breathing-related problems. COPD is commonly caused by two conditions; emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

A good number of people suffer from undiagnosed COPD, without treatment. It must be said too, that although this disease can be treated, it cannot be cured. The best line of action in these cases is to see a lung doctor.

What Causes COPD?

  • Smoking is the main cause of COPD, but even non-smokers can get the disease too. Although COPD is progressive (i.e., it gets worse over time) with proper management, people can effectively control symptoms and live quality lives.
  • It is also caused by long-term exposure to harmful gases or particles from different substances, e.g., cigarette smoke.

Symptoms of COPD

Symptoms of COPD do not appear until extreme lung damage has occurred. They include:

  • Shortness of breath during physical activities
  • Chest constriction
  • Cough (often with mucus)
  • Constant respiratory infections
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling around the ankles 

Living with COPD

Living with COPD can be quite challenging. To properly manage the disease, a lot of adjustments must be made, in dietary plans, exercises, and general living.

Your body is like a machine that runs on the food you eat. Therefore, when it comes to managing COPD, combining nutrients properly can help you regulate your breathing effectively.

There are specific nutrients that must be in your meal, so you need a proper diet. Here are a few tips on the kinds of food you need to eat to effectively manage COPD:

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1. Protein in all meals

Proteins have supplements that aid the growth of body cells, and they can be added to many types of meals.  Some foods are rich in protein like fish, beef, eggs, poultry, et cetera.

2. Starchy vegetables

Starchy vegetables like corn, carrots, and squash are suitable foods for patients because they’re excellent sources of calories and minerals. Including these foods in soups would add up to healthy nutrition for COPD patients.

3. Smoothies and shakes

Shakes and smoothies are great sources of calcium and vitamin D. Processed shakes are convenient because they contain vitamins, and vitamin is a crucial nutrient that should be found in a COPD patient’s meal. Vitamins help to boost the immune system.

4. Fresh fruits and vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables should be a valuable part of the diet of patients, as they contain a great number of nutrients and fiber.

5. Take healthy snacks

If you must take a snack, take your time. Eat nutritious, high-calory snacks such as crackers with a reduced amount of cheese fat, fruits, and vegetables.


Other things to note:

  • Patients should avoid regular food as it may worsen symptoms. They must also avoid foods that cause them to bloat, or produce gas. These make breathing difficult.
  • Foods that may trigger symptoms include carbonated drinks, overly spiced food, beans, and vegetables like cabbage, et cetera.
  • Salty foods too could cause them to retain too much water, and that would make breathing difficult.
  • It is advisable to use herbs, and spices without salt to augment food flavors.
  • Staying hydrated is extremely important for COPD patients, as fluids help to prevent mucus in the airways from being too thick and blocking the air passage.
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Contact your pulmonologist if you have issues preparing a proper diet or diet plan to manage COPD. You can also reach out to us with your questions.

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