Last week we talked about foods that COPD sufferers should avoid because either they don’t contribute good nutritional value to the diet, or they actually can contribute to a worsening of COPD symptoms.
This week we’re talking about the good stuff; nutrients to make sure you consume on a regular basis. The better your diet and the more balanced and valuable your nutrition, the better you will fare as you live with COPD.
Here are the nutrients you should make a regular part of your diet, and the reasons why:
Protein, because it plays a big part in the production of antibodies that fight infection. If you eat an adequate amount of protein, you’ll be helping your body fight off any kind of infection, but most important to you, infections of the lungs and respiratory system. Protein is also important in maintaining and strengthening your respiratory muscles, making them function more effectively, which may help reduce your episodes of shortness of breath.
Water, meaning caffeine-free liquids. Water helps thin mucus and makes it easier to break up and expel your secretions.
Calcium, which helps regulate lung function, muscle contractions, and blood clotting. Did you know that patients with COPD have an increased risk of osteoporosis, especially when they’re using corticosteroids, which can increase calcium loss? Calcium is an important nutrient to help prevent or slow bone loss. Also note that Vitamin D is as important as calcium, as it facilitates its absorption.
Magnesium, which, like calcium, is important for protein production, muscle contractions, and blood clotting. The two nutrients together create an antihistamine-like effect that helps reduce shortness of breath.
Phosphorus, a magic ingredient for the production of energy, and building and repairing damaged cells.
Potassium, which has a great deal to do with healthy heart function and the delivery of nerve impulses throughout the body. Low potassium can cause an irregular heartbeat. The daily consumption of potassium can lower blood pressure, anxiety, and feelings of stress.
Fiber, which creates a feeling of fullness and helps those trying to lose or maintain weight avoid overeating. Fiber also helps regulate blood glucose levels.
Vitamins A, C, D, and E, which help develop infection-fighting white blood cells, destroy free radicals, reduce lung inflammation, and repair damaged lung tissue. Vitamin D also helps maintain healthy bones.
For even more information on COPD and nutrition, see an informative article by Eden Coleman, published on the COPD Store website.