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COPD and Nutritional Needs

There are many reasons why people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) benefit from a well-balanced, healthy diet. Good nutrition equips your body to fight infection and gives you energy to breathe efficiently. Your body uses more energy to breathe—and function—than the body of someone without COPD. Eating nutritious foods also helps you feel less tired.

Even with all the benefits of a healthy diet, the reality is that getting enough calories may be difficult. You may have a poor appetite, meal planning and cooking may be burdensome, or you may simply feel too tired to eat. If you need help staying at an ideal weight or gaining weight, your health care provider and dietician may suggest a liquid supplement.

What is a liquid supplement?

A liquid supplement is a drink designed to give you a calorie boost and contains a high percentage of fat and protein.

When should I consume it?

Your health care provider can tell you how much and when you should use supplements. He or she may recommend drinking supplements between meals to add extra calories to what you are already eating. Don’t replace meals with these drinks. It’s best to get as many of your calories as possible from well-balanced meals. Also, don’t use supplements without first talking with your health care provider. 

How will I choose one?

There are many supplement options available for specific purposes and with different ingredients. It’s not always easy to know which product to use. Some products on the market may actually be harmful, so be sure to choose one recommended by your health care provider. This will ensure you use the supplement appropriate for someone who has COPD and for your individual nutritional needs.

For more information on living well with COPD, please visit the American Lung Association.

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