Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by restricted airflow in the airways and there is currently no treatment to deal with the disease. To improve their condition, diagnosed patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease need to improve their eating habits . A healthy diet will not cure COPD, but it can help the body fight chest infections that can lead to hospitalization.

A diet high in fat and lower in carbohydrates may be most appropriate for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

A low carb diet leads to lower production of carbon dioxide in the body. This can help people with COPD to better manage their health.

Studies show that healthy people who follow a ketogenic diet produce lower levels of carbon dioxide than those who follow a Mediterranean diet. Other studies have shown improvement in people with COPD who follow a high-fat, low-carb diet instead of a high-carb diet.

Foods that are included in the diet for COPD

Protein-rich foods

Consumption of foods high in protein , such as meat, eggs and fish - especially fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.

Complex carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates (slow carbohydrates) are high in fiber, which helps improve digestive function and blood sugar management . The foods that can be included in the diet are - lentils, quinoa, beans, oats, barley.

Fruits and vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables contain vitamins , minerals and fiber. These nutrients help maintain the health of the body. Starch-free vegetables (all except peas, potatoes and corn) are low in carbohydrates and can be included in the diet.


Potassium-rich foods

Potassium is vital for lung function, so its deficiency can cause breathing problems. Foods high in potassium are avocados, dark leafy vegetables, tomatoes, asparagus, beets, bananas, and oranges.

Healthy fats

The higher fat foods to be consumed are - avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut and coconut oil, olives and olive oil, fatty fish and cheese. These foods provide better nutrition, especially in the long run.

Foods to avoid in COPD

Some foods can cause problems such as gas and bloating, or have little or no nutritional value. Foods that should be avoided or minimized include:


Too much sodium or salt in the diet causes water retention, which can affect the ability to breathe. Instead of salt, herbs and spices can be used to flavor food.

However, most of the sodium intake does not come from the use of salt, but rather from what is already present in the diet. It is therefore necessary to check the labels of the foods that are bought. The diet should contain no more than 300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving. The whole meal should contain no more than 600 mg.

Some fruits

Apples, melons, stone fruits such as apricots and peaches can cause bloating and flatulence in some people due to the content of fermentable carbohydrates . This can lead to breathing problems in people with COPD. Instead, low-fermentation fruits such as pineapple and grapes can be consumed.

Some vegetables and legumes

There is a long list of vegetables and legumes that are known to cause bloating and flatulence. What is important is how each patient's body responds specifically to them.
These are foods that can be stopped or eaten if they do not cause a problem - beans, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, corn, leeks, lentils, onions, peas, soy.



Chocolate contains caffeine , which can affect the medication the patient takes. The patient should consult a specialist to find out whether to avoid or limit their intake.

Fried foods

Foods that are fried can cause gas and indigestion .


People with COPD should try to drink more fluids throughout the day. Adequate hydration facilitates the coughing up of secretions.

It is advisable to limit or avoid caffeine altogether, as it may interfere with the medication that the patient is taking. Caffeinated beverages include coffee, tea, carbonated and energy drinks.


Alcoholic beverages may interact with certain medications. Alcohol can also slow breathing and make coughing more difficult.


Sometimes it is necessary for people with heart problems to limit fluid intake. It is important to consult a specialist to guide the patient what to take and what to exclude from their diet.