Regardless of age, race or diagnosis, it is imperative that everyone tries to eat a balanced, healthy diet, complete with all the important elements: grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy and oils. The United States Department of Agriculture even created the helpful My Plate Guide for referral.
Eating a healthy diet is even more important for those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) because, according to the COPD Foundation, COPD patients need more energy to do the work of breathing. Plus, unplanned weight loss from eating poorly can weaken the muscles used for breathing.
However, there is one pesky food group those with COPD should pay extra close attention to: dairy. Read on to learn about the two biggest culprits of the dairy category and how to best incorporate them into your diet.
- Milk: According to Everyday Health, milk contains casomorphin, which is known to increase mucus production in the intestine. There are similar glands in the respiratory system where this happens, as well. In fact, scientists have stimulated mucus production from respiratory cells by adding casomorphin to them in the laboratory.
While COPD is associated with increased mucus production, and those with the disease often cough up mucus, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a cold glass of milk or bowl of ice cream. Simply drink water intermitted with your dairy treat. However, if you notice more phlegm after consuming dairy products, you may want to avoid milk-based products during COPD flare-ups, according to Everyday Health.
- Cheese: A lot of people love cheese, but many of those people often eat way more than they should, and this can be an issue as cheese is the No. 1 culprit of saturated fat, according to Janice Friswold, RD, a clinical dietitian at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio.
You can still enjoy cheese on a daily basis, so long as you pay attention to the kinds of cheese you are eating. Try avoiding cheese that is entirely processed, like American cheese, Friswold says. Instead, eat natural cheese says Yahoo! Health, like feta cheese, mozzarella string cheese or cottage cheese.
Remember, you should always check with your doctor before considering a change in your diet. For more tips on a healthy diet and staying active, download the free guide, “Staying Healthy with COPD.”