THERE IS JUST NOTHING MORE SCARY THAN THE THOUGHT OF LIVING OUT ONE’S LIFE WITH CHRONIC LUNG DISEASE THAT RENDERS YOU VIRTUALLY “BREATHLESS”…EATING RIGHT AND NUTRITIOUSLY CAN PREVENT AND SLOW THIS DISEASE, WHICH DOESN’T ALWAY JUST AFFECT SMOKERS….FOUR PACKS WILL CONTINUE TO TRUMPET THE BENEFITS OF GOOD, HEALTHY DIETS AND EXERCISE…GAINING THAT “FOUR PACK” IS THE FINAL TROPHY…THESE EXCERPTS OUGHT TO SCARE YOU INTO EATING HEALTHY….
“…Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is a disease in which the lungs are damaged, making it difficult to breathe. It affects an estimated 30 million Americans—mostly middle-aged or older—and is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. Smoking is the No. 1 risk factor for the condition.
While there is no cure, good nutrition, exercise and medication can help slow the progression of the debilitating disease, which can render patients literally breathless. What’s more, studies suggest that good nutrition may help prevent the disease.
Nourish your body
“The best medical evidence points to the fact that nutrition plays a role in preventing and managing COPD,” says Dr. E. Neil Schachter, director of the respiratory care department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and author of the book Life and Breath: Preventing, Treating and Reversing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
“People on healthy diets have less of a tendency to develop lung disease with or without smoking,” Schachter says. “Diets that are rich in foods that contain antioxidant vitamins (such as vitamins C, E and A) may protect you against COPD and help you better manage the disease if you already have it.”
While people with COPD should take a multivitamin every day, the real benefits come from vitamin-rich foods such as vegetables and fruits—not from supplements. In addition to providing vitamins and minerals, a healthy diet likely offers multiple benefits that combine to help protect the lungs, Schachter explains.
It’s not always what you eat, but how you eat and when you eat, that matters, Allen says. “Underweight people with COPD should eat small, frequent, nutrient-dense meals.” Aim for five to six easy-to-prepare meals each day. Eggs, peanut butter and even healthful frozen meals are good choices, he adds, because many people with a smoking-related lung disease are too short of breath to prepare anything other than very simple meals. Other nutritious, calorie-dense choices include whole milk, full-fat cheeses, eggs, turkey, chicken, fish, hamburger and nuts.
People who are overweight and have COPD can benefit from smaller, frequent meals that are lower in calories and fat. They should avoid high-calorie beverages, nuts and ready-made or processed foods. “Overweight people with COPD have to work even harder to breathe,” Schachter says. “They also are at greater risk of heart attack, diabetes and stroke due to the excess weight.”
Carbs and fat
Some people with the condition benefit from reducing the amount of carbohydrates and increasing the amount of fat in their diets. “When you eat a high-carb food like a bowl of white pasta, rice or potatoes, and certain fruits, it’s broken down to carbon dioxide and water,” Schachter explains. People with COPD may have trouble expelling the carbon dioxide from their lungs; as a result, breathing can become even more labored.
Fat produces the least amount of carbon dioxide. However, Allen advises overweight patients to limit fats as well as carbohydrates in their diet.
Relax. Rest before meals. During meals, eat slowly, take small bites and chew thoroughly. Breathe deeply during meals. Use oxygen if you need it. Having an oxygen tube in the nose should not affect a person’s ability to eat.
Don’t overeat. Eat five or six small meals throughout the day rather than two or three large meals. This will keep your stomach from becoming overly full, which can make breathing uncomfortable.
Avoid gas-producing foods. Foods that tend to create gas can cause abdominal bloating and make breathing more difficult. Steer clear of carbonated beverages, beans, lentils, cabbage, fried or greasy foods, and other gas-producing foods.