6 Great Foods if you Have Emphysema

by | Sep 26, 2017 | Diet and Nutrition, Emphysema, Lifestyle, Recipes, Tips

When you have a chronic lung disease like emphysema, a goal is to get the most nutrition out of the least volume of food. Breathing can take 10 times the calories for someone with a lung disease compared to someone without a disease.

Often times people find themselves getting fatigued while they eat, or they have trouble breathing because they ate too much.

Here are some mealtime tips and comments:

  • Eat smaller meals more often.
  • Four to six small meals during the day, instead of three large meals
  • You won’t be full or feel full.
  • Requires less energy to eat smaller meals.
  • Less fatigued and better able to get what you need from the food you eat.
  • Finally, relax and rest before you eat.

You want to make the meal-time process as easy as possible. Not just in what you eat but how you eat. You want to avoid foods that could cause inflammation because your body has to tend to the inflammation and will have less energy to work on the lungs.

Here are six suggestions:



Here is a great food to start your day, hot oatmeal. It’s rich in fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamin A. Make it with milk instead of water and it’s even better for you. The high fiber content helps you feel full with fewer calories. Top it with berries instead of sweeteners to keep the calorie count low.

Say Cheese

Add cheese to dishes like potatoes, rice, or vegetables. This will increase the nutrient value and the caloric value of any meal. You are also getting extra calcium to help protect your bones, which can become brittle by some of the medicines prescribed for COPD. To save a few calories and still have cheese, check the labels for “part-skim” or “reduced-fat.”

Eggs Offer a Calorie Boost

A great and tasty way to boost your calorie intake is adding an extra egg to your recipes. Mix a whole egg into your next meatloaf before baking. Or try it in macaroni and cheese.

Shakes and Smoothies

Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D are essential for keeping bones healthy. That’s why milkshakes and smoothies are the perfect snacks for many people with COPD. Use milk or, if counting calories, yogurt to start the recipe and fresh fruit really adds nutrients and fiber. Canned, fortified shakes are no-fuss drinks that are easy to have on hand. These drinks are ready to be used straight out of the fridge.

Starchy Vegetables

Starchy vegetables like beets, corn, carrots, and winter squash are rich sources of vitamins and minerals. They are at the top of the vegetable list for having more calories than other vegetables. A good vegetable soup can be a complementary side dish or a main course. Fruits and vegetables also take the least amount of energy to digest and give the body the most energy to function.

Protein at Every Meal

It may sound like a blast from the past, but peanut butter can pump up your intake of both calories and protein, with little time or energy is wasted on preparation. Protein is important at every meal for people with COPD. Good sources include eggs, lean meat, fish, poultry, legumes, and nuts.

Success comes from knowing what foods are good and what foods are bad and how your body and your lungs react to them. Keep track of your diet and incorporate as many of these items as you can into your daily nutritional plan.

For more information on cellular therapy and what it could mean for your life, contact us today or call us at 888-745-6697. 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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