healthy living

5 Diet Tips for People Living with COPD

If you’ve been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) chances are that your physician has recommended a few new lifestyle changes. Maybe it’s to stop smoking, to introduce more exercise into your daily life or to make some changes to your diet. It’s this last one we want to talk about and were here to talk about 5 diet tips that will make living with COPD a little bit easier.

Changing your diet and eating habits will not cure you of COPD. However it can help you to feel better, reduce the rate of complications, such as infection, and lower strain on the lungs for oxygen.


5 Diet Tips for People Living with COPD

1. Balance is important.

If you are overweight, your heart and lungs have to work harder, making breathing more difficult. In addition, the extra weight might demand more oxygen.Eating a balanced diet that contains fresh, healthy foods that are easy to chew and digest is vital to controlling your weight and lowering the energy required to digest foods. Try and avoid foods that provide you with little to no nutritional value. Junk food doesn’t provide your body with the nutrients it needs, so stay away from salty, fatty, greasy, sweet foods and definitely steer clear of sweet soft drinks.


2. Drink plenty of fluids.

The good kinds that keep you hydrated, not the bad kinds that act as a diuretic. Good fluids include water, a limited amount of fruit juice (which are generally very high in fructose sugar) and milk. Fluids to avoid include coffee and other caffeinated drink as well as alcohol. Ask your doctor for specific guidelines regarding alcohol and your COPD. Alcoholic beverages do not have much nutritional value and can interact with medicine, especially oral steroids. Too much alcohol has the potential to slow your breathing and make it difficult to cough up mucus. While eating try to drink after a meal.

Some people with COPD who also have heart problems might need to limit their fluids, so be sure to follow your doctor’s guidelines.


Too much salt can have a negative impact if you live with COPD.

Too much salt can have a negative impact if you live with COPD.

3. Reduce or remove salt

Too much salt in a diet causes the body to retain water, which in turn may affect your ability to breathe. So take that salt shaker off the table and find an alternative to adding it to your cooking. Try to use unsalted herbs and spices to flavor food instead. Check with your dietician about low-sodium salt substitutes as they may also contain ingredients that could affect your health. If you

If you don’t already, start to check the labels of the foods you buy and avoid any containing more than 300g of sodium per serving.


4. Enjoy a healthy breakfast

COPD can make breathing in the morning particularly difficult but that’s no excuse for you to skip breakfast. Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day for good reason, you need that early meal to fuel the rest of your day. If you like to have a main meal during the day, eat it earlier in the day. The food will give you energy for the rest of the day, and you won’t have to expend extra energy to eat a larger meal at the end of the day when you are already tired.


5. Slow down and enjoy your meal

Take your time while eating as it’ll prevent you from becoming short of breath. A good trick is to put your fork back on the table after each bite. Try an be as slow and deliberate as possible and enjoy your meal. “Take some food, chew it, swallow it, then rest, then breathe, then take some food again.” Eating a meal with others is often a pleasant experience and something worth sharing.


As all cases of COPD are different we recommend you follow your doctor’s advice regarding your diet. They should also be able to refer you to a registered dietician for planning and advice. Fortunately we’ve come a long way recently with medication and technology to help with COPD. There’s still a lot of life to be lived so let’s make our diets ones that we can enjoy and take pleasure in.