The Impact of Nutrition on Immunity

A diet deficient in calories, protein, and vitamins and minerals has a negative effect on immune function. The body’s cells that fight infection are made of proteins. Poor diet makes it difficult for the body to build new immune factors to fight infections and to repair damaged tissues. Decreased appetite and increased caloric needs may then start another debilitating cycle. For this reason and the ones above, the COPD patient must achieve a balance of good nutrition and exercise to stay as healthy as possible.

Nutrition Needs

Fluid: Hydrating fluids mean caffeine free products. Fluid keeps mucus thin and keeps your body hydrated. Also, oxygen use can be drying to the mucus membranes. Some medications can add to this drying effect. You need depends on your nutritional status and should be determined by a dietitian during your rehab program.

Calcium: Especially important for women and for individuals who are on steroid medication. Calcium strengthens bones and helps regulate blood pressure. Calcium is mostly obtained from dairy products and supplements.

Adequate calories: Important even if you are trying to lose weight. See a dietitian for assessment.

Potassium: Potassium needs and levels should be determined by lab tests and discussed with your physician. Important for blood pressure control, muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission. Potassium is susceptible to depletion as a result of certain diuretic medications. It is found in fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat.

Caffeine: Limit beverages containing caffeine. It causes the body to lose water and it increases the diuretic effect of some medications such as Theophylline.

Tips To Eat Well

  1. Eat foods from each of the basic food groups: fruit and vegetables, dairy products, cereal and grains, and proteins.
  2. Limit your salt intake. Too much sodium can cause you to retain fluids that may interfere with breathing.
  3. Try eating 5-6 small meals instead of 3 large ones.
  4. Limit your intake of caffeinated drinks. Caffeine may interfere with some of your medications and may also make you feel nervous.
  5. Avoid foods that produce gas or make you feel bloated. The best process to use in eliminating foods from your diet is trial and error.
  6. Keep fruit juice and water readily available in the refrigerator
  7. Try to eat your main meal early. This way, you will have lots of energy to carry you throughout the day.
  8. Choose foods that are easy to prepare. Buy pre-washed, pre-cut fruits and vegetables.
  9. Choose softer foods that are easier to chew if you become short of breath while eating
  10. Avoid foods that supply little or no nutritional value. Example; coffee, tea and soda.