6 Foods COPD Patients Must Avoid

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung condition that affects almost 30 million people in the country. Smoking and exposure to harmful chemicals usually cause COPD, with symptoms ranging from chest tightness to shortness of breath. While the disease cannot be cured, medication, coupled with a proper diet, can better manage some symptoms. For instance, foods with anti-inflammatory properties and those rich in antioxidants are considered best for COPD patients.

Conversely, a diet rich in certain compounds and ingredients is deemed to be harmful. Hence, here are six foods to avoid if suffering from COPD.


COPD patients must avoid or at least minimize consuming salt. Too much salt makes the body retain more water, leading to a condition called edema. This swells up the different tissues throughout the body, making it difficult to breathe, thereby aggravating COPD. One could use herbs and spices as a substitute for salt.

Cruciferous vegetables

Vegetables like cauliflower, kale, and broccoli are beneficial as they contain essential nutrients that nourish different cells and tissues in the body. However, the extra fiber in these foods can cause bloating in COPD patients. Indigestion pressures the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. The severity of the problem varies from patient to patient. Hence, one must try and limit consuming such vegetables if suffering from COPD.

Fried foods

There are many reasons why nutritionists and experts forbid regular intake of fried foods. The method used for preparing these foods is quite harmful as it adds excess calories, unhealthy fats, and extra salt to them. The effort needed to break down the fats is a problem, causing indigestion in COPD patients. Fried foods also promote weight gain, leading to breathing problems.

Cured meats

Cured meats are preserved by adding nitrates and nitrites. These compounds are harmful to COPD patients since they generate substances that lead to structural changes in the lungs. Studies verified this effect and concluded that a diet rich in cured meat increases the risk of COPD and lung disorders. The salt in such foods is also a big problem and must hence be avoided by people suffering from COPD.

Soft drinks

Sugary drinks contain carbon dioxide, another harmful compound for COPD patients. It causes bloating and leads to breathing difficulty. The preservatives and sweeteners used in such drinks are also unhealthy, and some people may experience dehydration.

Dairy products

It has been reported that regular consumption of milk increases the amount of mucus. Lung diseases like COPD have been linked with increased mucus in the system, and therefore, dairy products could be an aggravating factor for COPD patients. That being said, it’s best to consult an expert before removing milk and other dairy components from the diet.

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