As the saying goes, we are what we eat! And for those with lung disease, eating a healthy diet can go a long way towards improving their overall health and wellbeing, by providing more energy for breathing and daily activities, fighting chest infections, and more. Try these dietary tips specifically for those with lung disease:
- Eat breakfast! It really is the most important meal of the day. For a person with lung disease, breathing burns ten times more calories than it does for a person without lung disease. Eating larger meals early in the day when energy is highest will help a person gain the most calories and nutrients possible for the day.
- Eat more nutritious foods first. Fatigue sometimes stops a person with lung disease from eating before he/she gets the calories and nutrients needed.
- Go for potassium. Lung disease patients taking a diuretic may need more potassium.
- Drink plenty of (non-caffeinated) fluids. This will help keep the mucus in the airways thin and make it easier to clear the lungs.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals that are high in calories. This technique can help a person with lung disease meet daily caloric needs more efficiently.
- Include enough fiber in the diet. High fiber foods such as vegetables, dried legumes, bran, whole grains, rice, cereals, pasta and fresh fruit aid in digestion by helping food move more easily through the digestive tract.
- Choose foods that are easy to prepare or ask for help with meal preparation. Preparing meals sometimes uses up so much energy that a person with lung disease then doesn’t have enough energy to eat the meal.
- Avoid/limit salt. Sodium can cause water retention, which makes it harder to breathe, so it is best to avoid foods that have more than 300 milligrams of sodium per serving.
- Wear an oxygen cannula while eating. If the doctor has prescribed continuous oxygen therapy, make sure to wear the oxygen cannula when eating.
Live Free Home Health Care is pleased to offer a number of resources to help those with lung disease breathe easier, such as this COPD symptom relief tip sheet. Our New Hampshire home care team understands the dietary and lifestyle needs of those with lung disease, and can assist with symptom management at home. Contact us at 603-217-0149 to arrange for a free in-home assessment or to learn more about how we can help your senior loved ones.