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Foods to Avoid With COPD

1 May 2014
| Under COPD, Lifestyle | Posted by | 41 Comments
Foods to Avoid with COPD

When someone is diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), many aspects of that person’s life change. Doctors will recommend several lifestyle modifications to help prevent symptoms flare-ups and other complications. One of the most important areas to modify is something most people do three times a day – eat. With your health in mind, here are some Foods to Avoid with COPD.

Cold Cuts and Cured Meats

Most cold cut sandwich meats contain additives, called nitrates, which help to maintain the color of cold cuts or prolong their shelf life. No matter if someone has COPD or not, it’s recommended to keep these types of food to a minimum or avoid them if possible. Types of cold cuts include:

  • Bacon (Yes, bacon. Unless it’s uncured bacon without additives.)
  • Cold Cuts
  • Ham
  • Hot Dogs

Salty Foods

A little pinch of salt may be fine every now and then, but a heavy salt diet can be a problem for someone with COPD. Salt can cause people to retain water, which can make breathing more difficult. For those looking for other ways to ditch the salt but still have flavor, check out these herbs and spices.

Dairy Products

Although milk is a great source of vitamins and minerals, milk is also known to increase mucus production. During flare-ups, people with lung disease often experience an increase in mucus. As an alternative, try almond or soy milk.

Dairy products to avoid include:

  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Buttermilk

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous Vegetables are great sources of fiber and other nutrients, but they can also cause excess gas and bloating. For someone with COPD, bloating and excess gas can cause pressure and make it more difficult to breathe. Think about cutting out these vegetables if possible, or at least limit their consumption.

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels spouts
  • Radishes
  • Bok choy

Fried Foods

Like broccoli or cauliflower, fried foods can cause bloating and excess gas making it difficult to breathe. Eating too much fried food can also cause weight gain, thus putting more pressure on the diaphragm. Do your best to avoid these foods, as well as most things commonly found in a drive-through:

  • French fries
  • Onion rings
  • Jalapeño poppers
  • Fried chicken
  • Fried fish

Carbonated Beverages

It should be no surprise that carbonated beverages contribute to gas and bloating. Not only do soft drinks and other carbonated beverages cause abdominal pressure from bloating, they typically contain a lot of sugar and contribute to dehydration. If you’re thirsty, drink water. Your lungs will thank you. Avoid these beverages:

  • Carbonated soft drinks
  • Sparkling waters
  • Beer
  • Sparkling wines
  • Sparkling cider

Avoid Sulfites

Sulfites are often added to foods and drinks to help them maintain shelf life or appearance. Sulfites trigger a narrowing of bronchial tubes in people with respiratory problems. Some sulfite-containing foods include:

  • Shrimp
  • Potatoes
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Some medications (talk to your doctor)

Avoid Heartburn and Acid Reflux

Do you know which foods to avoid with COPD that can give you acid reflux? Try to avoid or eliminate these foods from your diet. Long-term acid reflux, referred to as GERD, can increase COPD symptoms. Furthermore, COPD sufferers are already at a higher risk of developing acid reflux.

  • Citrus fruit
  • Fruit juices
  • Anything fried
  • Tomato sauce
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee

Although it sounds like a lot of foods to avoid with COPD, by implementing these dietary suggestions over time, it will become second nature. Remember to ask your doctor before you change your diet. After an adjustment period, you’ll be eating healthier and feeling better. After learning all the foods to avoid with COPD, you might be wondering, what’s left? Check out our article about COPD-friendly foods you’ll enjoy to learn about other tasty options.

For those looking for additional ways to improve quality of life, there are other treatment options, such as cellular therapy. At the Lung Institute, we specialize in innovative procedures that harvest patients’ own cells to harness the body’s natural healing ability, promoting healing from within. If you or a loved one has COPD or another lung disease, and would like to learn more, please contact us or call (800) 729-3065.

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months of COPD patients.

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.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.