Food is the fuel that our body needs for all activities, including breathing, and for us eating can be compared to filling up a car with fuel. The quality of the fuel matters too. Our bodies require a lot of energy or fuel in order to help us breathe.
People who have COPD and other respiratory conditions can use up to 50% more energy on breathing compared to a person who does not have a lung disease. Breathlessness can make the motion of eating tiring. Eating can also induce greater breathlessness.
Body Mass Index
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple tool to calculate if you are a healthy weight for your height.
To calculate your BMI enter divide your weight (kg) by height (m) and then divide the answer by height again.
- above 31 – Obese
- 26–30 – Overweight
- 20–25 – Normal range
- below 19 – Underweight
COPD can impact greatly on the levels and quality of your nutrition, so you should aim to maintain a healthy body weight through a balanced diet that enhances your general well-being, improves your physical capacity, and helps prevent infections. It is important to eat well, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to help fight infections.
Enjoy a variety of foods
Grains – including bread, cereals, rice, pasta and potatoes can provide energy, vitamins, minerals and fibre. These are more filling and help maintain a healthy bowel. Try and include one at each meal time.
- 1 serving = 1 slice of bread; 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal, or 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal
Meat and fish can provide protein, vitamins and minerals. These contain lots of energy and help to maintain muscle and bone strength. Try and aim for 2 servings every day.
- 1 serving = 75g cooked meat or 100g cooked fish or vegetable protein (soya, Quorn or tofu)
Milk and dairy foods can provide protein and calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Try and aim for 3 servings each day.
- 1 serving = 200ml (1/3 pint) milk or 30g red cheese or 150g yoghurt pot or 50g half fat cheese or 75g cottage cheese
Fruit and vegetables can provide important vitamins, minerals and fibre. Try and aim for at least 5 servings each day.
- 1 serving = 80g = 1 piece of fruit e.g. 1 apple, 1 pear, 1 banana or 12 grapes, 1 large slice of melon, 1 small glass of fruit juice, 2 tablespoons of vegetables or 2 tablespoons of dried fruit.