Did you know that if you have COPD, the foods that you eat such as carbs can have an affect on your breathing. Foods high in carbohydrates produces large amounts of carbon dioxide. When carbon dioxide is increased in the body the blood becomes acidic. If your blood becomes too acidic messages are sent to the brain to increase respiration and urination to eliminate this build up of acid. Your body's natural buffer system in the form of increased bicarbonate production kick in to bring you back to a state of homeostasis. When you have COPD the anatomy of the lungs has changed in such a way as to decrease the body's ability to eliminate carbon dioxide. Over time the body resets the baseline CO2 (carbon dioxide) to a higher number due to the lungs inability to properly eliminate it effectively. This in turn causes the bicarbonate to reset as well to bring the body's blood pH back to normal. Foods high in carbohydrates increase the amount of CO2 in an already deficient system, therefore making expiration more difficult.
If you have been diagnosed with COPD have your doctor recommend a registered dietitian that can help you to devise a meal plan with the proper nutrition to offset increased CO2. Do not try to do this yourself because carbohydrates provide fuel for the body and should not be completely eliminated from your diet. For example, complex carbohydrates are a good source of fiber which is necessary for proper bowel function. Simple and complex carbs also provide a lot of minerals and vitamins that are necessary for proper cell function. Fats produce the least amount of carbon dioxide while providing a great source for energy. Proteins are great for maintaining respiratory muscle strength along with proper exercise. Adequate water intake is also necessary in diluting the thick sputum that goes along with COPD. Coarse breath sounds from congestion are often confused with wet breath sounds from pulmonary edema which is more related with a condition known as congestive heart failure. Some foods also affect other factors that goes along with COPD. Carbs can affect your breathing if you have COPD, but they can affect your medications as well. Medications taken such as blood thinners, and some foods need to be increased to provide better bone strength as with calcium depletion that occurs with steroid use.
More importantly when making changes to your diet increase your meal to approximately six small meals a day. Merely trying to eat with end-stage COPD requires a lot of oxygen expenditure. Preparation of smaller, but more frequent meals aids in meeting the nutritional requirements that is imperative to normal body function. Ask your doctor for advice at your next appointment so that you can enjoy a greater quality of life.