When you have COPD, you may need to eat as many as 10 times more calories than a person without COPD to make up for calories burned from breathing—but there are some foods that can worsen your symptoms that you’ll want to avoid. Read on for a list of foods to avoid if you have COPD1:
1. Carbonated drinks: These drinks, either the kind filled with sugar or the diet kind, don’t have any nutritional value and cause your stomach to bloat which can make it uncomfortable to breathe. Consider replacing carbonated soft drinks with water.
2. Cured meats: Ham, bacon, cold cuts and other similar meats can worsen your COPD symptoms due to their nitrate content if eaten in large amounts. A study published in the European Respiratory Journal suggested that nitrates can also increase someone’s risk for COPD or COPD-related hospital admissions.
3. Milk: While it’s not always the case for everyone, milk may increase mucus production. If you notice more mucus after having dairy products such as ice cream or milk, you might want to avoid this and seek additional advice from your doctor.
4.Shrimp: Shrimp can contain preservatives which prevent them from changing color and keep them looking appetizing. These preservatives can contain sulfites which may narrow your airways and make breathing more difficult.
5. Citrus foods: Although vitamin C in citrus foods such as oranges and lemons can provide good nutritional benefits, it can trigger acid reflux which makes COPD symptoms worse. If you notice heartburn symptoms after eating or drinking the juice from a citrus food, it’s probably best to avoid it in the future and make an appointment to discuss with your doctor.
6. Salt: Salt can cause your body to retain water, which can make it harder for you to breathe. Salt substitutes can be just as dangerous if you have COPD because they can contain high potassium which may interact with medications you are taking. It’s best to use salt-free spices and herbs to add flavor to your food.
7. Fried foods: Fried, greasy food can make your stomach bloat which causes it to push up on your diaphragm muscle which makes it harder for your lungs to expand.
Try these healthy snack foods if you’re craving something tasty:
- Whole grain snack chips: The crunch you crave without all the salt and white flour that are bad for you.
- Homemade smoothies: Mix your favorite fruits, juice or water and ice for a great taste without the added sugars and syrups.
- Dairy-free ice cream: Ice creams made from soy or coconut milk give you the creamy taste you want without all the fat and high calories.