Foods to Avoid for COPD Patients

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a type of Lung disease, which causes difficulty in breathing. There are two types of COPD; one is Chronic Bronchitis, where the patient suffers long-term coughing that is accompanied by mucus. The other is Emphysema, which is where the lungs experience damage over time. The main cause of COPD is smoking and chances of developing it increase as the amount of smoking increases. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, fatigue, and respiratory infections.

Although dietary changes won’t totally remedy COPD, the following foods have been linked to exacerbating COPD symptoms for the worse:

1. Dairy

It is very important for patients to receive the nutrients, calcium and vitamin D that come from dairy foods, however, to also be careful of possible effects such as thickening of mucus. Dairy products do not necessarily cause more mucus to develop, but rather to become thicker. Steps can be taken to keep mucus thin. Drinking plenty of water helps as well as carbonated beverages. But for some people, carbonated drinks cause bloating and gas. So, it depends on the individual and how their body responds.

2. Sugary and greasy foods

Sweet and fried foods are known to cause gas and bloating, which makes it harder to breathe. The gas increases pressure on the diaphragm and patients feel as though they are not getting enough oxygen. Some nutritious vegetables contribute to gas and bloating such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale. It may seem awkward to avoid these healthy foods, however there are others that provide the same quality of vitamins like carrots, citrus fruits and sweet potatoes. The goal is to find the right balance of healthy foods that minimize these unpleasant experiences in the body.

3. Nitrates

Food containing nitrates are known to worsen the condition of COPD patients. The symptoms become more intense and the disease itself can progress further. It is possible for the symptoms to reach a point where one would require to be admitted to the hospital. On top of all that, nitrate foods may increase the risk of developing cancer, while COPD patients already face the risk of lung cancer. It takes a small amount of nitrate to make a difference, therefore it is crucial to avoid foods such as bacon, cold cuts, hot dogs, and others in a COPD diet. Some nitrates are also fattening and counterproductive to weight loss diets.

4. Allergenic trigger foods

Food allergies are known to induce coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and bronchospasm. Those with allergies know what foods are a trigger and COPS patients should pay extra attention to avoid foods that cause these symptoms. Popular food allergens are eggs, milk, peanuts, nuts, wheat and gluten cereal, shellfish and soybeans. If a patient is experiencing an allergic reaction, it is beneficial to improve air quality by keeping rooms properly ventilated. Comfortable breathing is one of the main goals, not only for COPD patients, but for everyone. These allergies are capable of exacerbating the condition of an individual to where normal everyday functions are significantly hindered. All in all, a properly ventilated room and a watchful eye for what is on the plate is encouraged.