Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is “a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems.” It is believed that millions of citizens suffer from COPD, and the disease has no cure but is treatable. One of the ways suggested is by improving the diet, as a healthy diet builds immunity, which supports your fight against this disease. However, most patients don’t realize the importance of the same. So, there is a list of diet mistakes for patients with COPD that can have severe consequences and must be avoided.
Salt does intensify taste in meals, but it also leads to fluid retention, which can cause swelling and fluid buildup in the lungs. For a COPD patient, this will only make breathing more difficult and lead to other complications. So, this is one of the major diet mistakes for patients with COPD. Choose low sodium or salt-free seasonings to add flavor to food and avoid super salty dishes like pizza and soups.
- Cold cuts and cured meats
Cold cuts and cured meats are a high source of nitrates and nitrites. Studies have shown that the consumption of these substances is harmful to the lungs of a COPD patient. It can also result in readmission of COPD patients if consumption has been regular for more than a year. So, avoid preserved meats and cold cuts, ham, bacon, etc.
- Cruciferous vegetables
One of the common diet mistakes for patients with COPD that goes unnoticed is the consumption of cruciferous veggies. Although broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, radishes, etc. are good sources of fiber and vitamin C and A, these are known to trigger bloating and excessive gas. This can cause increased pressure on the diaphragm, which can trigger dyspnea or shortness of breath, a problem for COPD patients.
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are linked to worsening respiratory symptoms due to increased mucus production. On top of that, if you are lactose-intolerant, dairy is only going to increase bloating and gas-related issues, which can increase respiratory problems in COPD patients. Therefore, choose to consume these foods moderately, or shift to low-fat dairy products, so that the vital minerals and nutrients that dairy products offer can still benefit you.
- Fried foods
These foods are a major cause of episodes of bloating and excessive gas; hence it is best consumed in limited amounts or avoided altogether. Fried foods also cause obesity, which can put pressure on the diaphragm, and consequently, cause breathing problems. All in all, avoid foods like French fries, onion rings, fried chicken, among others.
Thorough research is needed to establish a clear connection between these triggers and COPD symptoms. It is advisable to avoid these diet mistakes for patients with COPD. You can also consult your healthcare provider for better guidance.