There is nothing worse than indulging in a food and then regretting it later. The “after effects” of certain foods can leave a pulmonary patient suffering from increased breathlessness. The breathlessness is from bloating or by definition distention of the stomach due to air or fluid. This distention of the stomach can cause anyone to feel like they can’t take a full breath of air in their lungs.
Here are a few of my suggestions on foods I recommend a person with a lung condition avoid or only have in small quantities.
1. Drop the Fizz: Carbonated beverages and soft drinks: these beverages really bring the bloat on. People are often mislead that if they just avoid soft drinks with high fructose corn syrup that they are doing well, however it’s the carbonation that really brings on the bloat. My recommendation: Stick to water, flavored water, decaffeinated tea, and other beverages that don’t sparkle
2. Don’t Stop for Fried Foods – It can be very tempting (and easy) to pull right on up to your local drive thru and order fried chicken, French fries, and other fried foods, but what I can guarantee is the bloat will show up later and make you second guess every bite. Other things to consider when you are popping fries and chicken nuggets is they can cause weight gain and are loaded with unhealthy fats that can increase your cholesterol. My recommendation: stick to foods that are grilled, steamed, or broiled.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables- Triple Word Score. What I am talking about is cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and radishes. The thought that eating these vegetables may not be the best thing for your health throws a lot of my patients off. But it is not the vegetables that are bad it is the quantity that patients will often times eat these vegetables that ends up causing bloating and gas that bites them later. (Pun intended J) My recommendation: Just eat a small portion of these at a time and the bloat should be avoided. If you find that one of these vegetables even in small quantities causes bloating; avoid it all together.
4. Don’t Pass the Salt – I have been guilty of over salting my food in the past. It is easy to get in a routine when the first thing you say after the blessing at dinner is “pass the salt.” Adding a bit of salt while you are cooking usually doesn’t contribute to an excessive salt diet but it can easily be excessive as you salt your food again when it hits the table. Salt can cause an increase in fluid retention, increased blood pressure, and swelling of ankles, feet, and hands. My recommendation: Taste your food first! Take a couple of bites and if you really feel as though you need a tiny bit more just add a “dash.” However, the best option would be to add salt free spices and herbs to enhance the flavor of your food.
5. Huge Meals, Huge Problem – Over eating at any time is a “no, no”. When you eat large meals you are causing your stomach to push up on your diaphragm which in turn is going to make you short of breath. Take your time eating each meal and don’t overeat. We usually encourage our patients to eat several small meals to avoid overeating. Remember, the food you are consuming should contribute to a healthier you.