The official blog of the Lung Institute.
I’m guilty. Guilty of starting the New Year off with the same promise that I always make to myself, to eat healthier. A promise and resolution so common that I’m not the only one that falls off the bandwagon. I’m guilty of falling for a delicious cheeseburger topped with zesty bacon when I know that the calories alone are bad for me. I’m guilty of walking past a Dairy Queen and eyeing the wonderful goodness that is an Oreo Blizzard. I’m guilty for being attracted to such amazing food!
Then I have to remember that this diet is for the much bigger picture. I’m not sure about you guys, but living with a lung disease sometimes limits the things I can do. You might be surprised to learn that the food that you eat everyday may affect your breathing. This especially rings true for someone in my condition. For the first time in what feels like years, I’m learning what foods and diets are right for me, someone living with COPD. You see, improving my diet is also improving how I feel now. The right mixture of nutrients is making it easier to breathe, which is why I’m sticking with it this year. If you are living with a lung disease, there are diets out there that could start to help you breathe a little better too.
Diets for Lung Disease
It is important to remember that when it comes to diets, everyone is different. The key is balance and keeping up with healthy eating in order to better manage your lung disease symptoms.
- Smaller Meals. Instead of the old standard of the meals per day, newer research has shown that it can be beneficial to try to space out your eating to four to six meals in one day. A good guide is to aim for about 300 calories for each of these meals. Regular small meals may also improve your breathing as less food means less pressure on your diaphragm. In turn, this means less respiratory discomfort.
- Balance. The three main sources of energy from food are carbohydrates, protein and fat. The ability to metabolize of each of these is different. Metabolizing carbs produces the most carbon dioxide for the least amount of oxygen used. What does this mean? For many lung disease sufferers, a diet that is lower in carbohydrates and higher in fat can help. This usually means healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, peanut butter and avocado. Diet plans usually have a good mix of these types of foods. Also note that you should avoid sodium, which causes swelling and could increase blood pressure. Try to incorporate vitamin D to keep your bones healthy.
- Protein. Do not underestimate the importance of protein. And know that there is so much more to protein than just boneless, skinless chicken breast. Foods that have protein include fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds. Protein is important because it plays an essential role in protecting the body.
- Herbs and Supplements. A number of over-the-counter herbs, dietary supplements and even foods and beverages may be able to help with your lung disease. Antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce stress and inflammation in the body. These can usually be taken in addition to your regular medical treatments, but you should consult your physician before taking any herbs or supplements.
Early diagnosis and timely treatment are crucial to helping control the symptoms of your lung disease. If you have questions about lung disease diets, consult your doctor first. If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic lung disease and wants to learn more about treatment options, contact us or call us at (800) 729-3065.