Keep Away From These Foods If You Have COPD Lung Disease


When someone is diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD lung disease), many aspects of that person’s life change. Doctors will recommend several lifestyle modifications to help prevent symptoms from flare-ups and other complications. One of the most important areas to modify is something most people do three times a day – eat. With your health in mind, here are some Foods to Avoid with COPD lung disease.

Cold Cuts and Cured Meats

Most cold cut sandwich meats contain additives, called nitrates, which help to maintain the color of cold cuts or prolong their shelf life. No matter if someone has COPD lung disease or not, it’s recommended to keep these types of food to a minimum or avoid them if possible. Types of cold cuts include:

  • Bacon (Yes, bacon. Unless it’s uncured bacon without additives.)
  • Cold Cuts
  • Ham
  • Hot Dogs

Salty Foods

A little pinch of salt may be fine every now and then, but a heavy salt COPD lung disease diet can be a problem for someone with COPD lung disease. Salt can cause people to retain water, which can make breathing more difficult. For those looking for other ways to ditch the salt but still have flavor, check out these herbs and spices.

Dairy Products

Although milk is a great source of vitamins and minerals, milk is also known to increase mucus production. During flare-ups, people with lung disease often experience an increase in mucus. As an alternative, try almond or soy milk.

Dairy products to avoid include:

  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Buttermilk

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous Vegetables are great sources of fiber and other nutrients, but they can also cause excess gas and bloating. For someone with COPD lung disease, bloating and excess gas can cause pressure and make it more difficult to breathe. Think about cutting out these vegetables if possible, or at least limit their consumption.

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels spouts
  • Radishes
  • Bok choy

Fried Foods

Like broccoli or cauliflower, fried foods can cause bloating and excess gas making it difficult to breathe. Eating too much-fried food can also cause weight gain, thus putting more pressure on the diaphragm. Do your best to avoid these foods, as well as most things commonly found in a drive-through:

  • French fries
  • Onion rings
  • Jalapeño poppers
  • Fried chicken
  • Fried fish

Carbonated Beverages

It should be no surprise that carbonated beverages contribute to gas and bloating. Not only do soft drinks and other carbonated beverages cause abdominal pressure from bloating, they typically contain a lot of sugar and contribute to dehydration. If you’re thirsty, drink water. Your lungs will thank you. Avoid these beverages:

  • Carbonated soft drinks
  • Sparkling waters
  • Beer
  • Sparkling wines
  • Sparkling cider

Avoid Sulfites

Sulfites are often added to foods and drinks to help them maintain shelf life or appearance. Sulfites trigger a narrowing of bronchial tubes in people with respiratory problems. Some sulfite-containing foods include:

  • Shrimp
  • Potatoes
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Some medications (talk to your doctor)


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