Owners' Blog

Nutrition Choices Matter with COPD

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

What and when your senior eats are big concerns when she’s got COPD. People with COPD often burn more calories than they take in, which can lead to your senior losing far more weight than she can afford to lose. She also needs plenty of nutrients in order to maintain her overall health and fight off lung infections.

Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruits are always something that you want in your senior’s diet. Fruits and veggies have tons of vitamins and other nutrients in them. One caveat is that cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cabbage, can create excess gas which can take up valuable space in her abdomen that your senior’s lungs need. Avoid anything that might contribute to her feeling uncomfortable later.

Whole Milk and Cheese

Lots of people avoid whole milk because of the higher fat levels, but people with COPD need those higher fat levels because they bring calories along with the nutrients. Milk and cheese products contain plenty of calcium and vitamin D, both of which are necessary for healthy bones and a healthy body. These are also easy ways to bump up your senior’s caloric intake. Look for lactose-free options if your senior can’t tolerate lactose well.

Foods Rich in Potassium

Your senior’s lungs work with her heart to move blood and other fluids through her body. As her lungs struggle, she might find that she’s experiencing swelling and fluid retention more often. Very often that means that your senior’s doctor recommends a diuretic to help keep those fluids moving. Unfortunately, that might mean that nutrients your senior needs, like potassium, get washed away, too. Bananas, potatoes, and other foods higher in potassium can help to even the balance.

High Protein Foods, Like Eggs

Your senior also needs protein to help keep her body running at its best. There are plenty of sources of protein, from poultry to lean meats and fish. Eggs are a really easy source of protein and you don’t want to overlook how much they can help your senior. They’re easy to cook, especially if your elderly family member is finding it exhausting to cook and even to eat. Eating eggs can help her to avoid losing too much muscle that she needs in order to stay active.

Smaller, More Frequent Meals Can Be Key

One key to making sure your senior is getting the nutrients she needs is to back away from the idea that she needs to eat three larger meals a day. Eating larger meals can be uncomfortable for her since her stomach and her lungs share space in her abdomen. If she’s eating smaller meals more often throughout the day, that can be a great way to ensure she’s eating as many calories as she needs to be eating.

Often people with COPD find meal prep and cooking exhausting. You can solve that problem for your senior by hiring elder care providers to take over those tasks for her. That way she’s got access to healthy foods and she’s not exerting a lot of energy.

If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring elder care in Sandy Springs, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.