Categories: Health & Fitness

COPD: foods to eat and foods to avoid

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COPD: what is it?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic disease of the airway which leads to respiratory failure. It touches approximately 7.5% of adults, i.e. between 3 and 3.5 million people. “The majority of patients are over 65 to 70 years old”says Simon Tellechea, dietitian-nutritionist.

COPD and symptoms

It is characterized by a wet coughof the muco-purulent sputums, a difficulty breathing during exercise but also at rest. It is mainly caused by smoking, hence the need to quit smoking, but also by air pollution, occupational exposure to chemical substancesa allergic hypersensitivity

The High Authority for Health distinguishes 4 stages of COPD :

COPD stage 1 ‘mild’

The patient is out of breath only during a major effort. At this stage he is only rarely aware of his condition.

COPD stage 2 “moderate”

The shortness of breath is present in the activities of daily life because of the increased narrowing of the caliber of the bronchi. This is a beginning of handicap for the patient.

COPD stage 3 “severe”

Shortness of breath is recurrent, even during minimal effort. The bronchi are more and more obstructed.

COPD stage 4 “very severe”

The patient is embarrassed in his most banal gestures. He becomes respiratory insufficient. His body does not oxygenate itself. His quality of life is considerably degraded.

Who is affected by COPD?

There COPD strikes more underprivileged populations. It is found more particularly in the regions of Tops of France and Great East. Hospitalization and mortality rates are higher than the national average.

In France, 2/3 of cases are not diagnosed. COPD could be the 3rd cause of death by disease in the world in 2030 !

In addition to various treatments such as bronchodilatorsantibiotics, corticosteroidsI’psychological support…, there nutritional support is also of great importance.

What foods should a COPD patient eat?

As in many illnesses, some foods are more suitable than others.

Chronic bronchitis and diet

A healthy diet is of course essential. What to put on the patient’s plate COPD ?


“Whether animal or vegetable, they are important in the fight against loss of muscle mass and the malnutrition », explains Simon Tellechea. Should certain proteins be preferred over others? ” Yesanswers the dietitian-nutritionist. Instead, choose lean, white meats such as rabbitTHE calf, there poultrybut also the Grisons meat ; THE oily fish for their supply of essential fatty acids Omega 3which is also found in linseed, rapeseed, camelina, walnut oils ; oilseeds like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts. »

Foods rich in omega-3s are important for fighting inflammation.

Which vegetable is good for the lungs?

“Fruits and vegetables are among the foods that ensure a good acid-base balance in the body and help fight inflammation”, details the dietitian-nutritionist.

Carrots, spinach, peppers, kiwis, oranges, strawberries… are foods that provide many vitamins and minerals (vitamins C, A; zinc, magnesium…). Not to mention their fiber intake.

COPD and loss of appetite

There COPD may lead to loss of appetite and therefore the risk that the patient will end up in a state of malnutrition. It also causes a feeling of nausea. The reasons ? “It’s because of the lack of oxygen, the dyspneamore or less constant cough, and fatigue of the disease. There may also be chewing problemsof swallowing »explains the dietitian-nutritionist.

What foods are harmful to the lungs?

There COPD is often accompanied by other health problems such as overweight or abdominal obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes. Hence the importance of avoiding certain foods.

“This is the case, in particular, of saturated fats found, for example, in fried foods, cold cuts, offal, fresh cream, industrially prepared meals, fast food, etc., lists Simon Tellechea. These foods take longer to digest and may also clog the arteries. »

These aren’t the only foods to avoid. This is also the case for certain vegetables such as cabbage in general (red cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.), as well as legumes. For what ? “They can cause bloating, gas that lengthens digestion time which will require the use of more oxygen by the digestive system”specifies the dietitian-nutritionist.

If you wish to consume these foods from time to time, it is advisable to cook them with a pinch of sodium bicarbonate which makes them more digestible.

“Beware, also, of sweet products which can cause flatulence”, warns Simon Tellechea.

Good advice to follow

In addition to foods to eat and foods to avoid, there are other good eating habits to adopt.

Split meals

Meal splitting is indicated in COPD. It has several advantages detailed by Simon Tellechea.

– A smaller plate reduces the food bolus.

– There is less risk of nausea.

– Digestion takes less time.

– There is less difficulty breathing.

“To have the daily recommended intake, a snack can be taken during the day”, suggests the dietitian-nutritionist.

take time to eat

“It is important not to eat too quickly or talk while eating so as not to swallow too much air, advises Simon Tellechea. It is also preferable to stay hydrated with water between meals rather than eating. »

Do not lie down after meals

We wait an hour after meals to take a nap or to go to bed at night. The reasons ? “Cough and difficulty breathing can lead to reflux, so a seated or semi-seated position at 45° is preferable”advises the dietitian-nutritionist.

A typical day to eat well when you have COPD

Here is an idea of ​​breakfast, lunch and dinner advised by Simon Tellechea.

Breakfast : 1 coffee or 1 tea + 50 g of bread or 2 rusks + 10 g of butter + 1 tbsp. c. jam + if desired 1 cottage cheese or 1 yoghurt, preferably goat or sheep cheese (easier to digest).

Lunch : 100 to 120 g of chicken breast en papillote + 100 to 120 g of mashed carrot + 130 g of white rice + 30 g of cheese + 1 fruit (You can keep the fruit for a snack in the afternoon).

Dinner : 1 bowl of soup + 100 g of poached salmon loin + 80 g of spinach + 80 g of steamed potato + 1 fruit and/or 1 dairy product.

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