The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a good idea for everyone. But if you are one of the 12 million Americans who lives with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), this can prove to be a difficult challenge. People diagnosed with COPD have to be especially aware of their lifestyle choices, including the foods that they eat. A proper diet will keep your arm, chest and leg muscles strong, and your heart and lungs well supplied with oxygen. But can a healthy diet increase lung function in COPD?
Healthy Diet? Healthy You?
For most people, breathing is unconscious and perceived as effortless. Yet, for many patients with COPD, breathing requires a conscious effort. COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes breathing difficult due to partially obstructed airflow into and out of the lungs. COPD can result in the body suffering from severe weight loss and deplete much needed oxygen to blood. Proper nutrition is especially encouraged in people with COPD.
In fact, according to a recent study published in the European Respiratory Journal, a diet rich in antioxidants may protect against the progression of COPD and even improve lung function. One hundred twenty patients with COPD were randomly placed to follow a diet based on the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, or to follow a free diet of their own choosing. After 3 years, researchers discovered that COPD patients that ate foods rich in antioxidants (fruits and vegetables) showed an increase in lung function, compared to patients that were on a standard diet. Researchers suggest that a diet rich in antioxidants may bring favorable outcomes to improved lung function in patients suffering from COPD.
A healthy diet is especially important for people with COPD. Shortness of breath can make eating difficult. Eating small meals more frequently can sometimes help. Try to get plenty of fruits and vegetables along with high-protein foods such as milk, fish, eggs, meat and soy. Drinking plenty of water can help too. Water may help thin mucus and phlegm so that it’s easier to expel by coughing. If you can’t seem to eat enough calories, liquid supplements may help. Of course, talk with your doctor about which foods will be best for you.
COPD is a life-threatening illness that can’t be cured, but it can be effectively treated. Early diagnosis and timely treatment are crucial to helping control symptoms of COPD. There are different treatments available to help with COPD, including stem cell therapy. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with COPD, then contact us at the Lung Institute or call (800) 729-3065 today.