Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is an inflammatory lung disease. It is a chronic condition that causes a number of respiratory symptoms, including difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. Though incurable, COPD is treatable, and eating the right kind of diet is important.
Avoiding the following foods and drinks plays a significant role in supporting the well-being of a person living with the disease:
Dairy is known to increase the production of mucus. For those with COPD who produce too much mucus already, this may be dangerous. As an alternative, try almond or soy milk. Dairy products include products made with animal milk such as yogurt, milk, butter, and cheese.
2. Caffeinated foods and drinks
Those with COPD should not consume caffeine on a regular basis. This includes foods and drinks like coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate. Caffeine quickens breathing, which may worsen the symptoms of COPD. Foods and drinks containing caffeine might also interfere with the effects of the medication used to treat COPD. To be safe, it is a good idea to consume caffeine in moderation.
3. Acidic foods and drinks
People with COPD are more likely to develop acid reflux than those with healthy lungs. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a chronic form of acid reflux that leads to recurring episodes of heartburn and indigestion. Acid reflux and GERD puts a person with COPD at risk for developing worsening symptoms of the disease. Foods and drinks high in acid, then, should be eliminated from the diet. This includes citrus fruits like oranges, pineapple, and lemons and fried foods.
4. Cured meats
Cured meats, including bacon, salami, pepperoni, and ham, contain additives called nitrates. These additives are used to prolong the shelf life of cured products. Nitrates are not only potentially harmful to those living with COPD, they may, too, contribute to the development of the disease. Cured foods are preserved in salt, which makes them high in sodium, too. Foods high in salt should also be avoided by those with COPD.
5. Salty foods
Sodium intake leads to water retention, which, in turn, leads to breathing difficulties. This is particularly problematic, of course, in people with COPD. Eating too many salty foods should be avoided. Salt cannot be eliminated from the diet entirely, but it is important for those with COPD to check the sodium content of the foods they eat and to moderate their salt intake.
6. Carbonated beverages
Carbonated beverages should not be consumed by those with COPD. Carbonated drinks, including soda, beer, and sparkling cider, lead to bloating and gas, which increases pressure in the abdomen. Similar to the effects of water retention, abdominal pressure can contribute to difficulties breathing.