Food Types to Avoid if You Have Lung Disease
Avoiding these foods can help keep lung disease symptoms at bay.
- Salty Foods Sodium causes fluid retention, which can lead to shortness of breath in patients who have lung disease. And while the salt shaker is the most obvious source of sodium, the bulk of sodium intake is actually already in the food. To reduce sodium intake, cut back on salty seasonings and check the labels on the foods you buy to confirm they don’t contain more than 300 milligrams of salt per serving.To reduce salt intake: Opt for herbs and spices to season food and check food labels before purchasing.
- Dairy Products As the body digests dairy products, a breakdown of milk digestion called casomorphin increases the amount of phlegm and mucus produced by the body. This can increase coughing, which can cause wheezing and pain in COPD patients.To reduce dairy intake: Trade lactose for milk alternatives such as almond, oat or soy milk.
- Processed Meats Cured meats and cold cuts contain nitrates, which companies often add to these products for color and to help extend shelf life. These nitrates, however, have been found to lead to an increase in COPD-related hospital readmissions.To reduce processed meat intake: Avoid deli meat or look for a “no nitrates added” label on the product.
- Soda Drinking soda can be harmful to those with lung disease in several ways. First, soda contains carbon dioxide to make it carbonated, which can cause gas and bloating that makes it harder to breathe. In addition, the high sugar content can increase inflammation and lead to weight gain, both of which can exacerbate COPD symptoms.To reduce soda intake: Try switching soda out with other noncarbonated, flavored beverages like tea, flavored water or natural juice.
- Fried Foods Fried foods such as french fries and onion rings contain unhealthy fats that can cause bloating and discomfort by pushing on the diaphragm. In addition to lung discomfort caused by bloating, fried foods over time can lead to higher cholesterol and weight gain. For people living with lung disease, these things can worsen symptoms.To reduce fried food intake: Avoid fast-food chains and drive-thru meals.