Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD causes an obstruction of airflow from the lungs. It is one of the leading causes of mortality in our country. Prolonged exposure to particulate matter or certain gases, and smoking can increase the risk of COPD. Food also plays a key role in the severity of the disease, making it vital to avoid foods that aggravate the symptoms. The following are some of the most common food triggers for COPD.
- Excess salt
This is one of the top food triggers for COPD. Iodized salt is essential for maintaining a healthy blood pressure. However, excessive salt can cause water retention. This results in a health condition called edema. The excess water can get accumulated in the diaphragm and damage the lungs, thereby increasing the risk of suffering from COPD. Doctors and dieticians suggest replacing table salt with other spices and herbs to enhance the taste.
- Aerated drinks
Aerated drinks contain high amounts of carbon dioxide. They also contain sweeteners, preservatives, and added colors that can increase the risk of suffering from COPD. The carbon dioxide in the aerated drinks can disturb the diaphragm pressure, which can make it difficult for the patient to breathe. It is therefore recommended to avoid aerated drinks and stay hydrated by drinking water and freshly squeezed juice.
- Cured meats and cold cuts
Both cold cuts and cured meats are processed foods and contain food preservatives such as nitrates to increase shelf life of the meat. Nitrates can damage lung tissues and increase the risk of suffering from COPD. Swap cold cut meats such as bacon, ham, and hot dogs with uncured meat that are stored using sea salt.
- Diary produce
This yet another one of the top food triggers for COPD. When the body digests milk, it produces a product called casomorphin, which increases the mucus in the intestines. Consequently, the large amount of phlegm produced leads to the body trying to dispose of it through cough, increasing the risk of suffering from COPD. It is recommended to drink almond and soy milk and avoid warm milk, ice cream, yogurt, cheese, buttermilk, and butter.
- Fried foods
Fried foods such as French fries, chicken, pizzas, and other junk food can cause bloating. This can be uncomfortable as the gas produced due to bloating puts pressure on the diaphragm, making it difficult to breathe, thereby worsening COPD symptoms. Eating primarily fried foods regularly can cause obesity. Consequently, this increased weight exerts more pressure on the lungs, worsening COPD symptoms.
- Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are a strict no-no for people suffering COPD. These vegetables, just like fried foods, can cause bloating in the stomach. The gas produced due to their digestion can push the diaphragm up and cause discomfort. This can aggravate COPD symptoms. Although cruciferous vegetables are a rich source of fiber, it is highly recommended to limit them or pair them with other foods to decrease bloating.