COPD is a condition in which the lungs become clogged. Continue reading to find out some of the symptoms of COPD, as well as foods that should be avoided to ease them.

Symptoms of COPD, also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, include inflammation, difficulty breathing, and a variety of others. One’s diet significantly impacts this condition, whether it be in a negative or positive way. There are, however, foods that should definitely be avoided.

Foods That Worsen COPD

1. Nitrated Meats

Nitrated meats, such as cold cuts, ham, bacon and hot dogs, will worsen COPD. Aside from that, they are not good for anybody.

2. Salt and Salty Foods

Salt has the tendency to retain water inside the body, which can make it harder to breathe. Salts that are high in potassium may negatively react with other medications.

3. High-fat Milk and Dairy

Milk and dairy products are known to contain a compound called casomorphin, a byproduct of milk. This chemical will cause mucus build-up inside the intestines and lungs.

4. Shrimp

Unfortunately, harvesters add sulfites to shrimp in order to keep them from changing color. Sulfites will cause bronchial passages to swell up and close. Potatoes, wine and even beer contain sulfites, so it’s ideal to stay away from them too.

5. Fried Foods

Fried foods, whether it’s chicken or onion rings, will cause bloating inside the stomach. This pressure puts force upon the person’s diaphragm, inhibiting the ability to breathe. Avoiding these foods would be wise.

6. Carbonated Beverages

Carbonated beverages have carbon dioxide gas dissolved inside of them. This gas escapes the liquid while it’s in the stomach. Naturally, this will cause unwanted bloating, which is bad news for a person who has COPD.

7. Citrus Fruits

Although citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, they have a high acidity content. This is likely to cause acid reflux, also known as heartburn. Those who have COPD are more likely to have heartburn, so eating citrus fruit isn’t the best idea.

8. Chocolate

Just like citrus fruits, chocolate can cause acid reflux as well. It’s fine to eat chocolate in moderation. However, it should not become a daily thing.

9. Pizza

Because pizza has tomatoes in it, it’s likely to cause heartburn. This is due to the fact that tomatoes are acidic. Those who have COPD can have pizza without tomato sauce.

Avoiding these foods will go a long way. To be realistic, avoiding these foods entirely may not be possible. Keep in mind that well-being is far more important than short-term pleasure. There are foods that help reduce the symptoms of COPD as well.

10. Sugary Snacks 

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for COPD sufferers, especially when exercising is difficult or limited. Switch out sugary snacks with a healthier alternative, such as nuts or dried fruit.

Foods to Help Manage COPD

After reading the list of all the foods to avoid, it might seem like there’s nothing else good left to eat; however, with the right balance of good nutrition, it is possible to enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks throughout the day.

People living with COPD require a higher calorie intake due to the effort it takes to breathe. It takes every muscle in their body to help them breathe. In fact, one breath can use 10 times more calories than someone without the condition.

Here’s a list of some of the best foods to choose if you’re living with COPD.

1. Low-fat or Fat-free Dairy Products

Dairy offers protein, calcium, vitamin D, and fat — this can help a person with COPD meet the required calorie intake, which is recommended to be between 430 and 720 calories a day, according to the COPD Foundation. Just make sure it’s low-fat or fat-free.

2. Beans

COPD suffers require high-fiber foods, and beans, peas, and other legumes are one way to get that fill. There are so many dishes that call for beans. Maybe try a three-bean salad? Or a bean dip?

3. Nuts

Nuts are a perfect snack for those living with COPD. Nuts are very high-calorie and can help to keep weight in a normal range.

4. Cruciferous Vegetables

There’s a lot of contradicting information about this food group. According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, broccoli is good for your lungs for a number of reasons — one is that it contains enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens. Another reason is that broccoli contains sulforaphane, which helps restore a chemical pathway that cleans your lungs, which is otherwise inactive in smokers and COPD suffers.

However, some people suggest that this food group can cause gas, which can make breathing more difficult. If gas and bloating due occur, it’s best to consult your doctor.

5. Black tea

Water is the best choice for those with COPD, but black tea should be the second option if you’re looking for something other than water. Black tea contains xanthine alkaloids and studies suggest that a high intake of this type of tea may provide a person with a protective agent to fight against swelling and reduce pain.