The Relationship Between Diet and Lung Disease
Asthma, emphysema, and COPD all affect the lungs, which makes it seem like they have something in common, but that’s not actually the case.
While they are related and share some risk factors, there are also specific causes of each lung disease, and specific ways to reduce your chances of getting one or more of them.
This article explains what these diseases are and how their symptoms develop, as well as how diet can affect them, so you can make healthier choices to improve your overall lung health.
What lung problems can diet cause?
The most common diseases in relation to diet are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. According to research, about 20% of cases of COPD are linked to diet.
Research also suggests that patients with diabetes or heart disease have a lower quality of life if they have asthma or COPD. However, not everyone who is at risk for these conditions will develop them if they make changes to their diets.
What is clear is that it’s important for people with lung problems—or those who are at risk—to pay attention to their diets as much as possible by eating well-balanced meals that don’t trigger inflammation in their lungs.
A healthy diet can help reduce symptoms of an existing condition and even help prevent future lung problems from developing. Here are some tips on how to eat better
What can you do about it?
Improving your diet could significantly reduce your risk of developing lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, or pneumonia.
The American Cancer Society suggests following a healthy eating plan that is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, beans, legumes and nuts to maximize nutritional value while limiting saturated fats.
If you need some additional support in sticking to a healthy lifestyle or are worried about one of these conditions yourself, ask your doctor for guidance on what dietary changes you can make that would be most beneficial.
A well-rounded diet will do wonders for improving overall lung health.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of a ketogenic diet.
When you’re eating lots of fat, your body converts that into ketones, which can be used as energy. The same thing happens when you eat lots of carbs. But a ketogenic diet is a bit different than your average high-carb diet because it also restricts protein intake.
In general, people on a ketogenic diet consume only about 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Here are three ways you can use MCT oil.
If you suffer from lung disease like COPD, you may want to consider adding MCT oil to your diet in order to combat your symptoms. Here are three tips for how to incorporate MCT oil into your diet: Eat moderate amounts of MCT-rich foods.
Consuming a moderate amount of healthy fats can be great for increasing fat intake, fighting disease and maintaining a healthy weight. Be sure not to overdo it, though; consuming too much fat can have negative effects on cholesterol levels.
Add MCT oil (or another form of MCT) as an ingredient in food or beverages you make at home.
Start with water
Although it seems like a no-brainer, a lot of people don’t consume enough water. In fact, an estimated 5 million Americans have chronic lung disease—which includes COPD and emphysema—and about 90 percent of them are tobacco smokers.
But non-smokers can still be susceptible to lung issues as well. Getting enough oxygen is critical for organ function in general; if your lungs aren’t getting enough oxygen due to things like air pollution or asbestos (or any other number of factors), you may develop lung disease over time.
The less air you inhale, the more limited your ability to breathe will be—so start off by drinking plenty of water every day. Your body will thank you later!
And don’t forget…
Smoking is a major contributor to lung disease. Remember that if you want to decrease your chances of developing a lung disease, it’s never too late to quit smoking.
One study found that smokers who had quit before they were 50 years old had virtually no chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, quitting at age 60 only cut their risk in half (and quitting at 80 cut their risk in half again).
They were still four times more likely than nonsmokers to develop COPD.