The official blog of the Lung Institute.
When it comes to your COPD diet, snacking is just as important as the meal.
For those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the difficulty of maintaining a proper diet can be hard to overcome. When living with COPD, where symptoms include shortness of breath, frequent coughing and general fatigue, taking the time to prepare a proper and nutritious meal can be a non-starter—especially when cooking often has smoky or steamy conditions.
However, the importance of a proper COPD diet, is very important if you want to improve your health. In fact, proper nutrition is critical to improving your overall health, easing your breathing and steadily increasing your energy levels and quality of life.
So, how can you supplement your diet to get the vitamins and nutrients you need?
Eat small, healthy snacks throughout the day. This helps your lungs function correctly. It’s that simple. So with your health in mind, the Lung Institute offers a definitive COPD Diet: The 5 Best Snacks for People with COPD.
- Almonds and Peanut Butter
We’ll start with this: almonds are amazing. They are packed with healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. Among these health benefits, almonds are known to lower blood sugar levels (reducing your chances of developing diabetes), reduce blood pressure (allowing your heart to pump blood easier and improve oxygen circulation), and lower cholesterol (reducing your chance of developing heart disease). On top of that, almonds also can reduce hunger and promote weight loss.
As a nut, almonds have a high fat content, however, these are good fats, the kind your body needs (like vitamin E). The bonus for almonds as a snack is they come in a great variety of flavors like cinnamon and sugar dusted, chocolate covered, plain (or raw), honey sesame or even spicy variations. So, there are plenty of types to choose from to match your tastes.
Pack a cup full in a small ziplocked bag and take them with you to start your morning. You’ll feel energized and full with a light, crunchy snack.
- Juices and Smoothies (Fruits + Vegetables)
As we’ve mentioned before, your body needs a variety of vitamins and nutrients to function properly, and although that can mean eating a lot of different fruits and vegetables, a nice shortcut can be found drinking smoothies and juices. While smoothies are virtually the same thing as juices just with crushed ice, smoothies have the added benefit of retaining the fiber of the fruit or vegetable in the mix. On the other hand, juicing is quicker and easier to drink than a full smoothie since it is just the pure liquid extract of the fruit or vegetable.
At the Lung Institute, we advise drinking smoothies as the fiber is helpful for the body’s digestion, however, the raw vitamins and nutrients from juicing can be quicker and easier to gain than making a smoothie.
When looking at fruits, focus on berries (blackberries, raspberries, and cherries), citrus fruits (lemons, limes and oranges) and fruits like bananas and mangoes which contain potassium.
In terms of vegetables, stick to leafy greens like spinach and kale, which are chock-full of vitamin A. Also, look for cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, and colorful ones like carrots. Both contain vitamin C and carotenoids.
- Cheese Sticks
There’s a prevailing idea that has become accepted. It’s that milk somehow creates phlegm and should be avoided when sick or experiencing bouts of coughing. Rest assured this idea is false. Dairy is not a producer of phlegm, instead, the enzymes in milk and other dairy only thicken the phlegm that is already there.
Sure, this may be splitting hairs but it’s important to note that a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D are significant problems for older adults causing brittle bones and respiratory illnesses.
In this sense, getting one’s daily supply of vitamin D is crucial to maintaining one’s health.
To aid in this process, the next time you’re in the dairy section of your supermarket, pick up a pack of string cheese. They’re individually wrapped and packed with vitamin D and calcium, and only 100 calories each.
- Daily Vitamins
At the Lung Institute, we can’t stress enough that you must take your daily vitamins. Cooking can be difficult when combatting fatigue and limited mobility, so getting your daily supply of vitamins and nutrients becomes that much more pressing helping you operate at peak efficiency.
Whether it’s the generic brand at your local store or the tried and true “One A Day,” it’s crucial to your respiratory health and overall health to give your body everything it needs to give you the energy needed to inspire internal healing.
- Water, Simple Water
Water is by far the most precious resource in world, and yet, the average American doesn’t drink enough of it. Doctors recommend about eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, but many people fall short of this and can become dehydrated. This can pose some real and lasting problems. To start, dehydration can cause fatigue. Your body needs water to keep the cells in your body healthy, moving and reproducing. Without it, your cells will break down.
Aside from the physical effects, a lack of water can have a dramatic effect on your cognitive ability, making focus, concentration and task assessment more difficult.
In comparison to other countries, America has a beaming history of clean and free drinking water (tap water), so take advantage and wash a daily vitamin down with a nice cold glass of water. It’s a great way to start your day.
What to Do Next
When lifestyle changes fail to improve your quality of life, it may be time to consider stem cell therapy. Rather than addressing the symptoms of lung disease, stem cell therapy may directly affect disease progression and may improve quality of life.
For more information on stem cell therapy and what it could mean for your life, contact us today or call us at (800) 729-3065. 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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