A healthy diet is an important part of staying healthy after an emphysema diagnosis. While changing your eating habits can’t cure your condition, it can make life with emphysema much easier. After all, good nutrition helps your body fight infections and provides the nutrients you need to breathe easier.
Here are the top tips for eating right with emphysema from the Cleveland Clinic:
- Include high-fiber foods in your diet: These include fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, bran and rice. Fiber helps move food along in your digestive system and can reduce blood cholesterol levels.
- Limit sodium intake: Sodium, or salt, causes your body to retain too much water, which makes breathing more difficult. Read nutrition labels carefully to help avoid buying food with more than 300 mg of sodium per serving. Avoid adding salt to anything you eat and use no-salt spices to flavor your food instead.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Drink at least 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of water or other fluids each day to thin your mucus and make coughing more productive. Also, avoid caffeine—it may interfere with medications you are taking.
- Get more calcium and vitamin D: These nutrients make life with emphysema easier by keeping your bones healthy and strong. You can get calcium and vitamin D from dairy products, fortified foods and supplements. Talk to your doctor about the effects of dairy on emphysema before you make it a primary facet of your diet.
- Avoid foods that cause bloating: For many people, these include carbonated drinks, fried or greasy foods, some fruits (like apples, melons and avocados), and some vegetables (such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, onions and peppers).
- Don’t let food preparation drain your energy: Choose foods that are easy to prepare or ask family members to help prepare your meals. Make extra portions and freeze them for later. Eat your main meal around lunchtime for the energy you need to make it to the end of the day. You might also call your local Meals on Wheels program to see if you’re eligible to participate.
For more information about staying healthy while living with emphysema, download the free guide "Staying Healthy with Chronic Lung Disease" today.Sakurako Kitsa