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The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Creating a Pulmonary Fibrosis Diet

creating a pulmonary fibrosis diet

Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition in which your lung tissue becomes scarred, making it difficult to breathe. While smoking cigarettes or environmental irritants can increase the likelihood of developing the disease, in most cases, the cause is unknown. Symptoms vary from person to person, but often include the following: coughing, weakness, fatigue, achy joints and weight loss. A healthy diet, however, may help people with pulmonary fibrosis combat the severity of symptoms. Let’s take a look at some key elements to creating a pulmonary fibrosis diet.

Creating a Pulmonary Fibrosis Diet

Key elements of a healthy diet include a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low fat dairy products and lean protein, such as poultry without skin, seafood, processed soy products, nuts, seeds, beans and peas. A healthy diet is also low in sodium, added sugars, trans and/or saturated fats and refined grains, which lose many of their nutrients through processing.

You also may want to consider eating several smaller meals a day rather than three larger ones. Having a full belly can make it harder to breathe, so eating smaller meals that don’t fill you up can set you up for success. For more information on portion control and a variety of foods to incorporate into each meal, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which helps your body protect itself against disease and infection and support your immune system. Additionally, researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that antioxidants may reduce symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which is common among people with pulmonary fibrosis and can actually cause the disease to worsen.

  • Try these: berries, cherries, kiwi, cantaloupe, leafy greens, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, squash, carrots & bell peppers

Whole Grains

Creating a Pulmonary Fibrosis Diet

Foods rich in carbohydrates are important for giving us energy. However, not all carbohydrates are the same. When it comes to breads, whole grains are the best option. Breads that aren’t whole grain are called refined grains and have had much of the nutrients stripped from them. As a result, refined grains can disrupt your blood sugar and energy levels.

  • Try these: 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, wild rice, whole quinoa, pearled barley, old-fashioned oatmeal and air-popped popcorn

Dairy Products

Dairy products are great sources of calcium, protein and vitamin D. However, whole milk products contain large amounts of saturated fats, which is not good for a pulmonary fibrosis diet. Choosing skim and low-fat varieties are a great way to get the good benefits of dairy without the bad. Additionally, if you’re struggling with unintentional weight loss, you can replace water with milk in foods such as oatmeal, soups and smoothies to take in more calories. If you can’t tolerate or are not a fan of dairy, you can enjoy soy, cashew or almond milk to obtain similar benefits.

  • Try these: kefir (also rich in probiotics, which aid in digestion), skim milk, part-skim cheese, Greek yogurt and non-dairy options such as almond milk, soy milk and veggie cheese

Protein

Creating a Pulmonary Fibrosis Diet

Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of protein, and they are also high in nutrients and calories. They are a great choice for a pulmonary fibrosis diet because they can help to combat weight loss. Nuts and seeds make for a healthy snack and are a great alternative to unhealthy choices such as potato chips.

  • Try these: walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and almonds

Sticking with Your Pulmonary Fibrosis Diet

When starting a new pulmonary fibrosis diet plan, the key is keeping an open mind and staying positive. Relaxation techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises can help calm your mind if you start to feel overwhelmed.

Remember, the key to making any long-lasting change is starting slow and making small changes. Maybe you will start by making one change, such as eating berries for breakfast instead of waffles or cereal. Next, try switching out any white bread in the home for whole grain or sprouted bread. Small changes are what lead to great success over time. Please comment below to let us know what dietary changes have been helpful in your life.

If you or a loved one suffers from pulmonary fibrosis and traditional treatment options don’t seem to be helping, stem cell therapy from the Lung Institute might be a great choice for your health. Contact us today, and one of our patient coordinators would be happy to speak with you.

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

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