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How to Use Diet to Treat Emphysema

updated March 04, 2011

Use Diet to Treat Emphysema

Making dietary changes can help people who suffer from emphysema feel better. While there is no cure for emphysema, simple changes can make a big difference in how a person feels and lives his everyday life. Diet in particular can play a pivotal role, so it's important that the issue is addressed soon after a person's diagnosis.

Moderately Easy


Things You'll Need

  • Many small meals throughout the day
  • Fresh foods, including produce
  • Water
    • 1
      Eat smaller meals often, rather than eating just a couple of large meals a day. Not only is this easier to process, but it also puts less pressure on your stomach and lungs and leaves you feeling better instead of weighed down by the meal. Each meal should be no bigger than the size of your fist and should ideally include all the main food groups (proteins, carbohydrates and fat).
    • 2
      Lose weight to treat emphysema. The heavier you are, the harder it is for your lungs to pump oxygen to your whole body. If you have been looking for an extra motivation to diet, this may be the most important one you can ever come across. Even a 5-pound loss can make a big difference in how you feel and move.
    • 3
      Cut down on salt and caffeine, which cause your body to retain water and swell up. This in turn can make breathing more strenuous. Salt can also affect your blood pressure and make breathing and circulation more difficult. Salt is especially abundant in canned and processed food, so try to eat as much natural produce and fresh food as you possibly can.
    • 4
      Make sure you eat a balanced diet to get adequate amounts of minerals and vitamins. Potassium can be particularly helpful, as can fiber (which lowers cholesterol and facilitates digestion) and vitamin A (which helps keep tissues young).
    • 5
      Drink as much water as possible. The use of water cleans the digestive system and takes the burden off your body and your lungs. This is especially important if you eat spicy or heavy foods that take longer to digest.

Read more: How to Use Diet to Treat Emphysema |
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