The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has estimated that as many as 12 million adults are now diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and yet another 12 million may be living with the disease and not even be aware of it. COPD generally hits in middle age, with smoking as the top contributing factor. Ongoing exposure to chemicals and dust also raises a person’s risk factor.
If you or a senior loved one has been diagnosed with COPD, making healthy lifestyle choices can make a significant difference in the severity of symptoms. Not only that, but knowing the links between COPD and nutrition, and following a healthier diet can help those with COPD feel better, gain increased strength needed for breathing, and help fight off chest infections.
- Never skip breakfast. For someone with COPD, breathing burns upwards of ten times more calories than for those without COPD, so starting the day with a healthy and balanced breakfast can provide the calories and nutrients needed for the day.
- Consume more potassium. COPD patients who take diuretics will need extra potassium. Good choices include oranges, bananas, potatoes, and tomatoes.
- Drink plenty of non-caffeinated liquids. Fluids help to thin mucus in the air passageways. But caffeine can conflict with some medications and lead to restlessness, so stick with non-caffeinated fluids.
- Avoid gas-inducing foods. Foods like beans, fried foods, and carbonated beverages that produce gas and bloating may make it more difficult for someone with COPD to breathe. Try to avoid these types of foods to prevent symptom flare-ups.
- Reduce sodium intake. Sodium can lead to water retention, making it more difficult to breathe, so it’s best to stay away from foods that contain more than 300 milligrams of sodium per serving. Sodium-free spices like parsley, garlic, oregano, basil, curry, onion, rosemary and lemon juice are all wonderful alternatives.
San Diego Home Caregivers, a provider of professional elderly care in San Diego and the surrounding areas, is highly skilled in working with COPD patients and their families to help manage COPD symptoms and ensure the home is safe and free from irritants. Contact us today at (619) 487-9000 to learn more ways we can help seniors with COPD and nutrition.