For people with chronic lung disease, finding nutritious foods can be challenging and discouraging. Many people want to enjoy eating their favorite foods while following their specific diets, avoiding options which could trigger symptom flare-ups.
To aid in healthier lung function, we previously discussed foods you might want to avoid, but fear not — we have compiled a list of COPD-friendly foods you’ll enjoy.
Nitrate Free Cold Cuts
Companies such as Boar’s Head and Applegate Natural and Organic Meat don’t add nitrites or nitrates to their meats, so their products are healthier options than typical cold cuts. Both offer a variety of choices and are sold in most grocery stores, including Publix and Walmart.
Herbs and Spices
While it is fine to use a small pinch of salt when you cook, eating too much salt could be a problem. However, you can season your food with a variety of herbs and spices, such as oregano, rosemary, basil, parsley, garlic, cayenne, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. They are easy to find in grocery stores, and they add great flavor to meals.
Dairy Product Alternatives
For many people, dairy products are staple foods. Who doesn’t enjoy a grilled cheese, a glass of milk with a cookie, or a delicious lasagna? However, for many people, cheese and dairy products can make them sick or exacerbate symptoms.
For milk alternatives, you could try almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, or soy milk, all of which are available at local grocery stores. Brands such as Rice Dream, Almond Breeze, So Delicious and Silk offer tasty milk alternatives.
If you are craving some creamy, melty cheese, you can find dairy-free cheese at most local grocery stores and health food stores, such as Walmart and Whole Foods.
Daiya offers a variety of cheese alternatives and pre-packaged meals, including slices, shreds, blocks, cream cheese style spreads, pizzas, cheesecake style desserts, and an alternative mac & cheese.
Go Veggie also offers cheese alternatives with options such as grated toppings, blocks, shreds, and cream cheese-style spreads.
While cruciferous vegetables can cause gas and bloating, you can eat other veggies instead. Some of these easy to find foods include:
- bell peppers
- green beans
Fried Food Alternatives
Fried foods can also cause gas and bloating, which can make breathing difficult. Perhaps you really enjoy eating fried foods, what can you do?
Here are some options: try coating your chicken in flour or breadcrumbs and baking it in the oven or cut a potato into wedges, sprinkle with olive oil, lightly coat with herbs and spices, and bake it in the oven. Voila!
Water is the best choice for hydration, but sometimes you might want a little flavor. Instead of reaching for the sugary, carbonated drinks, try naturally-flavored water. You can easily infuse your water with fruit for flavor. Your lungs will thank you. Check out some recipes here.
With so many great alternatives, you can hopefully enjoy your favorite foods again. Remember that it’s important to ask your doctor before changing your diet.
Christine Kingsley, APRN is the Health and Wellness Director at the Lung Institute where she focuses on providing helpful online resources for people looking for information on various lung diseases, breathing exercises, and healthy lifestyle choices. She advocates for holistic care that involves working with your doctor to explore all options including traditional and alternative care while focusing on diet and exercise as proactive measures.