A Word From The Dietitian

A Word From The Dietitian :


Some people living with severe COPD, especially those who have emphysema, can experience severe weight loss resulting in poor health. Being severely underweight can be life threatening. Severe weight loss can also result in a loss of muscle mass, including weakening of the muscles that are used to breathe. A proper diet is important in helping you maintain your strength and prevent your health from worsening. A diet high in protein will help rebuild muscles and recover from illness. Milk products and meat are high in protein. Vitamins and minerals from fruit, vegetables and grains are also important.

If you use water pills (diuretics), you may also experience potassium loss. Speak to your doctor about whether taking potassium pills or changing your diet to include high-potassium foods (such as milk, fresh oranges or orange juice, dried fruits, bananas, beef, potatoes and fresh pineapple) may be right for you.

A dietitian can help you determine your nutritional and caloric needs.
People with COPD might find it hard to breathe when they are eating because a full stomach can press on the diaphragm. Lifestyle changes that may help you to eat properly with less shortness of breath include:

  • Using medications that help you breathe easier about one hour before eating
  • Resting before eating and take plenty of time to eat
  • Eating slowly and chewing foods thoroughly
  • Breathing evenly while chewing
  • Eating small frequent meals each day instead of three large ones so that your stomach is never extremely full and pushing on the diaphragm
  • Avoiding or eating only small amounts of gas-forming foods which bloat the abdomen and make breathing difficult (e.g., onions, cauliflower, broccoli, melons, peas, corn, cucumbers, cabbage, brussels sprouts, turnips, raw apples and beans, except green beans
  • Not skipping breakfast – drink a liquid breakfast or nutritional supplement if you have difficulty breathing in the morning
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