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For those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), addressing proper nutrition in your diet can be one of the best health decisions you can make after quitting smoking.
However, as many who’ve tried a new diet can tell you, changing your diet isn’t always easy.
To start, it requires an understanding of nutrition as a whole:
- What your body needs?
- How much of it?
- And what foods you can get it from?
Secondly, that understanding requires action.
You need to go out and get these new foods.
And third—and perhaps most importantly—healthy foods aren’t always the tastiest or simplest to cook.
In changing your diet to reflect healthier alternatives, you’ll have to embrace the trial-and-error process of learning what you like and how to cook it to meet consistent dieting goals.
And that takes more self-discipline than most people realize.
However, the difference is that with COPD and its symptoms, having a healthy body filled with the daily vitamins and nutrients you need can help relieve these issues, and ultimately lengthen your lifespan.
For those with COPD, the importance of having a proper diet can be life-changing.
So, with your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to make things a little easier for you.
We’re here to give you a concrete plan on How to Start a Healthy COPD Right Now.
- Eat More Fish
It may surprise you that many people with COPD have a protein deficiency. This condition can cause some serious problems when considering a protein deficiency can bring on muscle loss.
To combat this, it’s important to eat protein rich foods that are lean and nutritious.
In the case of fish, seafood is packed with essential omega-3 fatty acids along with having low cholesterol, fat, and high amounts of lean protein.
These omega-3s have been known to reduce inflammation within the body—one of the leading factors in COPD symptom expression—and may even work to reduce COPD symptoms overall.
When looking for healthy fish to snack on look towards fatty fish. These include salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and herring.
Just be sure to grill them!
- Pile on the Protein
Although many know about protein for its ability to build muscles, what is often ignored is that protein has a tremendous effect on the body’s ability to fight infection through the creation of antibodies.
Some of the best forms of protein in terms of food to consume are typically poultry like chicken and turkey. There are many other food groups to help you gain the proper amount of protein to keep you in good health.
Start with lean meat chicken (again, grilled), eggs and legumes (beans). If cooking is a difficult task, take that out of the equation.
Eat peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Use canned white meat chicken and make chicken salad.
The most important part is to know what you need to eat, whether you can reasonably cook it, and get creative with how to consume the foods you want.
- Drink More Water
For many Americans, chronic dehydration is a frequent issue. It is a problem that affects many, and should be taken seriously.
Dehydration can lead to lower energy levels, which when combined with the fatigue from COPD, can create a sense of breathlessness that can be dangerous. A lack of proper hydration can also lower overall cognitive function.
On the other hand, by remaining hydrated, it’s possible to sleep better, reduce headaches and lower phlegm production, allowing you to feel and breathe better overall.
The recommended amount of water to drink per day is about half a gallon, when your mouth feels a little dry, go get a cup.
- Pair a Fruit or Vegetable with Every Meal
Did you know the Japanese have one of the longest life expectancies in the world? Not only is this a direct result of what they eat, but also how.
The Japanese cuisine is known for its larger portions of rice (a grain) along with vegetables and smaller portions of meat.
Although American cuisine is quite different and borrows largely from European customs, there is significant room to adopt some of these healthier eating practices in order to live a better and longer life.
For breakfast, pair an omelet with a healthy fruit like an apple, banana, or berries (nutrient rich in antioxidants).
For lunch, eat a chicken salad sandwich with a nice spinach or arugula salad with vinegar-based dressing.
And for dinner, limit your heavier meat items in favor of some steamed veggies like broccoli, carrots, or yams.
The key here is to ultimately reduce your intake of meat, which may be large in calories, often have little nutritional value in comparison to healthier fruits, vegetables, and plant-based forms of energy.
For a list of COPD-healthy fruits and vegetables, follow the list below:
- Leafy greens
- Beets and potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash
- Brussels sprouts
What Else Can I Do?
No doubt, changing your eating habits is one of the top things you can do to improve your health. With these behavioral changes, it’s possible to minimize the symptoms of COPD, emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis.
However, when lifestyle changes don’t improve your quality of life to your satisfaction, it may be time to consider cellular therapy. Rather than addressing the symptoms of lung disease, cellular therapy may directly affect disease progression and may improve quality of life.
Our patient coordinators will walk you through our available treatment options, talk through your current health and medical history and determine a qualifying treatment plan that works best for you.
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