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5 Dietary Tips to Help Manage COPD Symptoms

Posted by Steve Jones

Mon, Jul 29, 2013

If you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), it is important to remember that your symptoms can be manageable via your diet. Here are some nutritional tips to manage your COPD symptoms and avoid exacerbating your condition.

Before we begin, we need to understand how food affects your body, as well as your symptoms. The amount of nutrients you consume in your diet determine the amount of energy you will have, and how much carbon dioxide (CO2) your body will produce. The more CO2 your body produces, the harder it will be to breathe because more gas needs to be expelled with each breath. Sufferers of COPD need more energy than most to breathe.

Tip #1: Make sure to consume larger amounts of calories. COPD treatment may require up to 10 times the calorie intake of a person without this condition in order to properly energize the muscles required for breathing. By consuming enough calories, you will keep your diaphragm and other pulmonary muscles good and healthy, without as much stress. (Note: some people gain weight and others lose weight easily when they have COPD, often due to medications. Consult with your doctor on how many calories you should be consuming each day.)

Tip #2: As previously mentioned, it is important to relieve the stress upon your respiratory system. This can also be accomplished by drinking lots of fluids. Staying hydrated will thin out the mucus in your system which will cause less coughing, which is easier on your lungs. Six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids are recommended each day. It is also imperative that you avoid caffeine, which can be found in coffee and sodas like Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper, because it may interfere with certain COPD medications. (Note: Some medications or symptoms may actually require you to limit your fluid intake. Consult with your doctor on the amount of fluids you should consume.)

Tip #3: Consume large amounts of fiber. Fiber is plant food particles that do not get digested. Fiber helps to regulate the digestive tract, which will also aid in controlling blood glucose levels, and reduce cholesterol in your blood stream. Fiber can be found in many fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grain bread and bran products. Peas or dried beans are a great place to start.

Tip #4: Control the salt in your diet. Large amounts of sodium in your body bind with water particles, causing your body to retain more water, and making breathing far more difficult. When you're eating, don't add salt, even during the cooking process. Try to spice foods with fresh herbs or salt-free seasonings as opposed to canned and jarred flavourings.

Tip #5: Avoid eating foods that will leave you gassy and bloated. Not only will it be painful, but it will also make breathing extremely difficult and uncomfortable. Avoid greasy and heavily spiced foods, as well as the aforementioned fizzy carbonated beverages. Some people also have problem digesting certain fruits and vegetables, so keep a food diary or pay attention to your food intake to see what foods you might have problems with.

By following these tips, you can start a track down a much more comfortable life coping with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. By simply controlling your diet, you can better control your life.