The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Staying Hydrated with COPD

28 Aug 2016
| Under COPD, Diet and Nutrition, Lifestyle, Tips | Posted by | 2 Comments
Staying Hydrated with COPD

For people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), staying properly hydrated can be challenging but is an important part of managing COPD. For example, many people with COPD experience increased mucus production. The excess mucus becomes thick, sticky and difficult to cough up. However, drinking enough water can thin mucus and make mucus easier to clear out from the lungs. So with your health in mind, the Lung Institute has put together a few facts and tips about staying hydrated with COPD to help you breathe easier.

Why is water so important to staying hydrated with COPD?

In order to stay hydrated, it’s important to drink enough of the right kinds of fluids every day. Drinking water, of course, is an excellent way to stay hydrated. In fact, water is one of the most crucial nutrients the body needs and works with many of the body’s processes, including:

  • Hydration
  • Lubricating joints
  • Regulating body temperature
  • Protecting the eyes and mouth
  • Removing waste from the body
  • Transporting other nutrients throughout the body

Actually, water makes up more than 50 percent of the human body. Through sweating, urinating and breathing, a person can lose 2-3 quarts of water per day, so it’s crucial for people to replace the water in their bodies by staying hydrated. Typically, doctors recommend that people with COPD drink around 64 to 96 ounces of water, which is about 8 to 12 glasses. Of course, it’s important to discuss your personal hydration needs with you doctor before drinking more water.

As previously stated, for people with COPD, excessive, sticky mucus can make breathing difficult. Drinking enough water can thin the mucus, making it easier to cough up. However, there are more benefits to staying hydrated with COPD.

Drinking enough water can also help people with COPD fight off infections better. For people on oxygen therapy, the oxygen can cause symptoms of dryness and irritation in the nasal passages and airways. The good news is that drinking enough water can help prevent this dryness while keeping you hydrated.

What drinks should I avoid, and what drinks will help keep me hydrated?

Staying Hydrated with COPD

While there are many drink options available, it’s important to know which liquids to avoid. Drinks that contain caffeine such as tea, soda and coffee as well as alcoholic beverages can actually dehydrate you or pull water away from your body. It’s best to avoid these drinks or only drink them in moderation followed by a glass of water.

Many people like to use sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade to replenish electrolytes and rehydrate the body. While these drinks may help, they can also contain high amounts of sugar. To reduce the sugar amount, you can try watering sports drinks down and drinking them in moderation under the guidance of your doctor.

There are many fluid options that will help hydrate or rehydrate you as well. You guessed it; water is the best hydrating liquid. The best drinks for staying hydrated with COPD include:

  • Water
  • Broth soups
  • Fruit Juice (100 percent, natural fruit juice)
  • Decaffeinated coffee
  • Decaffeinated tea
  • Coconut water

Can certain foods help with hydration?

You can actually eat your water and receive important nutrients, vitamins and minerals from certain foods. Foods that are excellent sources of water and also contain vital nutrients include:

  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Watermelon
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Baby carrots
  • Cantaloupe

Even though these foods have a high water content, they also provide important nutrients. In fact, celery contains folate and vitamins A, C and K, and watermelon is rich in the antioxidant lycopene. Spinach contains lutein, potassium, folate and vitamin E, and cantaloupe provides you with vitamins A and C.

Electrolytes and staying hydrated with COPD made easy

Staying Hydrated with COPD

Staying hydrated with COPD isn’t just about drinking enough water. It’s also about eating foods rich in water and maintaining a healthy balance of your electrolytes.

When you become dehydrated, you may also experience an imbalance in your electrolytes. Electrolytes are electrically-charged minerals, which aid in regulating water quantities, muscle activity and pH levels in your body. If you’re trying to replenish your electrolytes while you hydrate as well, try eating foods that contain potassium, magnesium, calcium and some sodium.

For example, bananas, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, oranges, almonds, raisins are rich in potassium. Excellent sources of magnesium include bran cereal, brown rice, almonds, molasses, bananas, okra and Lima beans. When it comes to calcium, try foods such as sardines, salmon, kale, mustard greens, dried figs, hazelnuts, almonds as well as both dairy milk and fortified almond, rice or soy milk.

Remember to discuss your personal hydration needs with your doctor before you change your diet or treatment plan. If you’re looking for more tips on foods for your COPD diet, check out our article about COPD-friendly foods. With these tips and facts, staying hydrated with COPD will be easier.


  1. Lung Institute

    5 months ago


    Thank you for your comment. Apparently, we are wordsmiths and not math majors. We have made the correction.


    The Lung Institute

  2. Ken Holland

    5 months ago

    Thank you for this important and helpful information. I have a mild case of emphysema and want to keep it that way.
    I would only point out to you that eight to twelve glasses of watee equals 64 to 96 ounces, rather than 64 to 86 ounces, as stated in the article. I saw this same discrepancy in an article published by the Copd foundation, so thought i would mention it. Since 3 qts. Of water equals 96 oz., i’m sure that is what you meant ;)

* 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.

Under current FDA guidelines and regulations 1271.10 and 1271.15, the Lung Institute complies with all necessary requirements for operation. The Lung Institute is firmly in accordance with the conditions set by the FDA for exemption status and conducts itself in full accordance with current guidelines. Any individual who accesses Lung Institute's website for information is encouraged to speak with his or her primary physician for treatment suggestions and conclusive evidence. All information on this site should be used for educational and informational use only.

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 stem cell 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.