Having a healthy diet and being at a healthy weight will help maintain your health, reduce your risk of hospitalization and improve your recovery from infection or exacerbation.
By the end of this module, you will have met the following goals:
Goal 1: Learn about the importance of nutrition when you have chronic lung disease
Goal 2: Learn about nutritional needs specific to your lung disease
Goal 3: Exercise three times this week and continue the home walking program
Goal 4: Take Action to plan for healthy meals and food preparation
Goal 5: Take Action by planning ahead to conserve energy
Nutrition is the balance between the nutrients and energy that comes from the food we eat and the body’s demand from them to ensure growth, health maintenance and specific functions.
The Canada Food Guide supports a healthy balance of lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
Important things to know to manage your health with your diet:
Nutrition Imbalance: whether overnutrition or undernutrition, nutritional imbalance can cause increased fatigue, low mood, increased risk of hospitalization and slow your recovery from illness or exacerbation of your lung disease.
Why weight matters
- Being overweight – your heart and lungs have to work harder to supply oxygen to your body
- Being underweight – you are greater risk of infection
- In either case, losing muscle mass weakens the muscles that help with breathing
Extra calories may be needed because you use more energy to breathe, cough, and fight infection.
- Choosing the nutrient rich foods to increase calories makes a difference
- Preventing weight loss as your disease progresses is an important discussion to have with your healthcare team or a registered dietitian. Supplements may be necessary to improve your nutritional wellness.
This module contains disease specific considerations and recommendations. Symptoms of your chronic lung disease can make it difficult to eat which can lead to nutritional deficiencies and unwanted weight loss.
Diet and Nutrition Concerns with COPD
Undernutrition: is seen in about 30% of persons with advanced lung disease.
Overnutrition: is seen in 65% of persons with mild to moderate COPD. If you carry extra weight around the midline, this limits your diaphragm from moving effectively.
Intervention: Nutritional Therapy Combined with Exercise. Working with a registered dietician can help to determine a plan that is right for you. They may prescribe an appetite stimulant or a high caloric supplement to preserve weight and energy balance.