If you’ve been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, you need to avoid eating certain foods. These foods can increase the levels of carbon dioxide or cause breathing problems or other infections. Generally, COPD patients are advised to eat foods that are rich in proteins and fats and low in carbohydrates. There are many other foods to avoid for COPD patients as well. In this article, we list out a few such foods.

1. Salt
Salt is among the top foods to avoid for COPD patients. While some amount of salt is essential for the normal functioning of the body, consuming a lot of salty foods can lead to bloating and water retention. This causes pressure to build upon the diaphragm, making it hard to breathe. So it’s best to avoid high-sodium foods like tinned soups, french fries, packaged snacks, etc.

2. Cruciferous vegetables
Vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, etc., are some of the foods to avoid for COPD patients. They can cause bloating and gas in the body when consumed. And this leads to excess pressure on the diaphragm, causing breathing difficulties in those with COPD. Some other vegetables to avoid are leeks, onions, and peas. Some experts recommend staying away from legumes as well. While these vegetables are best avoided, most of them are very rich in minerals and vitamins. It’s best to consult your doctor to see if you can eat them in small quantities.

3. Dairy products
Dairy products like milk, cheese, butter, etc., are rich in calcium and essential fats, but they also produce a compound called casomorphin after being broken down in the digestive tract. Casomorphin increases the production of mucus in the gut. Now, this also leads to an increased amount of phlegm that needs to be coughed out. As COPD patients already witness an increased phlegm production during flare-ups, eating dairy makes things worse. It is why dairy products are among the foods to avoid for COPS.

4. Acidic foods
Acid reflux is a condition where the stomach acids move backward into the throat, past the esophageal sphincter. Studies say that heartburn, a symptom characteristic of acid reflux, can make COPD worse. Therefore, you need to avoid citrus fruits, tomato juice, fatty foods, spicy food, etc., as these exacerbate acid reflux and, in turn, COPD symptoms.

5. Cured meats
Cured meats like sausages, ham, hot dogs, bacon, etc., contain nitrates. These are preservatives that help increase their shelf life. But if consumed in large quantities, nitrates can worsen COPD. So cured meats and cold cuts are among the foods to avoid for COPD.

6. Aerated drinks
Aerated drinks like colas contain large amounts of carbon dioxide. It is what gives it the fizziness. Drinking a lot of these beverages can increase the carbon dioxide present in the stomach. It creates a lot of pressure in the torse, making it difficult for those with COPD to breathe.

While it is advisable to reduce the intake of these items from your diet, most people have different reactions to each of these foods. For COPD patients, diet changes are not enough. It’s also necessary to make healthy lifestyle changes, such as giving up smoking and doing regular exercise.