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COPD and diet

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for someone with COPD.

Being overweight can make someone more out of breath, so losing weight may be recommended.

However, some people with COPD lose weight, which they don’t need to lose, and which can also make symptoms worse. They may need help to gain weight again and maintain a healthy weight, such as dietary advice about eating enough protein and calories.

Three reasons why a healthy diet with COPD is important

Did you know the respiratory muscles in people with COPD burn10 times the calories of other people? That's because it takes so much energy just to breathe.

If you have COPD, a healthy diet can help manage your condition. Here are three reasons why:

If you don't get enough calories and are underweight:

  • You may be more likely to get an infection.
  • You may become weak and tired more often.
  • The muscles that control your breathing may weaken.

If you're overweight:

  • Your heart and lungs must work harder.
  • Your body may demand more oxygen.
  • Your breathing may become more difficult, especially if you carry weight around your middle.

When you have COPD, a diet of healthy foods:

  • Helps you maintain a healthy weight
  • Provides your body with the energy it needs
  • Supplies enough calories to keep breathing and other muscles strong
  • Helps your body fight infections by supporting your immune system

When you have COPD, you may need to make some dietary changes. However, always do this under the guidance of a registered dietician or another member of your healthcare team such as a respiratory specialist practice nurse, who can prepare an action plan tailored to your needs.

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