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COPD: Good Nutrition Is Important

How much do you know about eating well with COPD? Put your knowledge to the test and see whether you know the answers to these questions.

Does sodium intake affect COPD?

Yes. If you eat too much sodium, your body may retain fluid. This can make it harder to breathe. Limit salt and other sources of sodium in your diet by not adding salt to foods when cooking or eating, ordering unsalted foods at restaurants, and buying low-sodium foods.

Why does good nutrition help lower the risk for lung infection?

When your body has all the nutrients it needs, you’re better able to fight off infections. Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, cereal, grains, and protein to help prevent illness.

Why do some people with COPD have trouble keeping on weight?

Breathing requires energy, and for people with COPD, it may require much more energy than in people with healthy lungs. This means you use more calories for breathing. However, pressure from your lungs on your stomach and general tiredness may keep you from eating enough to keep up with your energy needs.

How many times every day should people with COPD eat?

The answer is often. Eat several small meals throughout the day rather than three big meals. Big meals fill up your stomach, which can press on your lungs and make breathing harder.

Should people with COPD eat more of certain foods than others?

People with COPD should eat a balanced, nutritious diet, but some nutrients are especially beneficial. Protein helps strengthen the muscles used for breathing. Dietary fiber is especially important for older adults and promotes bowel movements. Calcium supplements may be needed if a person is using certain medications.

Check with a registered dietician or your doctor if you have questions about nutritious eating.