Diet

How to Eat Healthy With COPD

Erica Sanderson Aug 13th, 2014 (updated Mar 1st, 2016)
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Proper nutrition is critical for COPD patients. It not only improves health overall and helps prevent flareups, but it can also provide a boost of needed energy for daily activities. Here are some ways to maintain a healthy diet.

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Clear your airways before eating
Clear your airways before eating

Do a nebulizer treatment, take a puffer or practice coughing techniques to clear your airways before sitting down to eat. Swallowing can be taxing if you’re struggling to breathe from excess mucous. The harder you have to work at eating, the more tired you’ll become which can make you more likely to stop before consuming enough food.

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Schedule meal times
Schedule meal times

If you like to exercise in the late afternoon, then eat a late lunch so you’re invigorated and can complete your workout. Plan to eat meals around your nap or rest times. You won’t want to eat when you’re tired, so save it until you have the right amount of energy.

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Use your oxygen
Use your oxygen

Supplemental oxygen is good not only for nighttime, but also mealtime. The extra flow of oxygen makes it easier to breathe while you’re eating. Talk to your doctor about using oxygen while you eat and increasing oxygen flow rate at those times.

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Eat a rainbow
Eat a rainbow

Colorful foods are some of the most beneficial and dense with nutrients. Include a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables on your plate as they are full of essential vitamins and minerals. The added fiber is also important for intestinal health.

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Try juicing
Try juicing

Eating raw or even cooked foods can be difficult if you have severe respiratory obstruction or trouble breathing. Pureeing fruits and vegetables into a thin juice may be easier to get down—without sacrificing the nutrients.

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Pack on the protein
Pack on the protein

Protein contains essential amino acids that your body uses for fighting infection, healing and muscle recovery, among other things. Get protein from different sources in addition to meat, such as seeds, beans, cheese and nuts. You can also try supplemental protein drinks. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about the amount of protein needed for your body.

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Include calcium
Include calcium

Low bone density and osteoporosis can be a complication of COPD due to malnutrition. Keep your bones strong by eating low-fat dairy foods daily, such as Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Speak to your doctor about also taking calcium supplements.

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Enjoy your dishes
Enjoy your dishes

Find nutritious meals you actually love and will look forward to eating. Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland and boring. Delicious meals will keep you satisfied and make it easier going down.