Good Eating Habits to Alleviate the Symptoms of COPD
A combination of good diet, conscious breathwork, and healthy lifestyle habits can do a lot to influence the symptoms and progression of the disease.
when talking about health, food can be the first line of defense. Food is the substance the body most consistently engages with, and it is key for preventive and curative care. As a general rule, it is important to consume foods that provide a substantial amount of energy, as well as a varied diet rich in phytonutrients to prevent further oxidative stress.
In this 2014 study from the European Respiratory Journal, the authors corroborated this guidance by finding that a well-balanced diet is indicated for individuals with COPD, with a focus on increasing the fat percentage of total energy intake to about 45% daily. Due to the high portion of fat, the quality of fat needs to be considered. Fat should be mostly mono- and poly-unsaturated with minimal saturated fats. Hydrogenated fats — “unhealthy” or trans fats, made from oils chemically altered with hydrogen to become solids, and found in many fried foods, margarine, and snacks like cookies, chips and donuts — should be removed entirely.
Protein contributes about 20% of total energy intake from lean animal sources, dairy, and nut butters, and the rest from carbohydrate sources. Together, they provide high fiber and potent micronutrients and antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, D, E, and B12. Add to this carotenoids, flavonoids, curcumins ( turmeric), resveratrol, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
High fiber foods
These foods are important because they help move food through the digestive tract, protect the large intestine, and help stabilize blood sugar levels. Examples include vegetables, fruits, cooked dried peas and beans, whole grain foods, and bran.
Control sodium in the diet
Eating too much salt can cause the body to retain water, making it harder to breathe. Instead of salt, use herbs and spices to give your food some flavor. The recommended amount of sodium per serving is 300 mg. Be wary of salt substitutes as they may contain harmful ingredients.
Include adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D
Findings in this 2014 article published in The Lancet suggest that low vitamin D levels in patients with COPD correlate with moderate or severe exacerbations (flares). Making sure that your levels are in normal range will be preventive. Vitamin D is sourced from fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna. Taking supplements is also indicated for many, but be sure the supplement is D3 and contains at least 1,000 IU. Calcium can be found in milk products as well as fortified products and most greens such as spinach, broccoli, kale, collard greens, bok choy, and beet greens.
Drink plenty of fluids
Hydration is so important in COPD, especially since breathing difficulties can lead to dehydratio.
Avoid foods that contribute to gas and bloating
they can make breathing uncomfortable. Examples include carbonated beverages, and fried, greasy, and heavily spiced foods. Some raw vegetables may also cause bloating or reflux, so cooking cruciferous vegetables — such as onions, broccoli and cauliflower — is appropriate.
Carotenoids and flavonoids are found in orange vegetables, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, apples, dark berries, pinto beans, and lentils.
Include a generous amount of healthy fats such as those found in nuts, eggs, olive oil, avocado, and fatty cold-water fish such as salmon. Plant-based omega-3s can be found in chia seeds, flax, hemp, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and algal oil ( derived from algae).