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8 Good Foods for People with COPD

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Remote patient monitoring of patients with COPD can offer clues about what happens before an exacerbation, just like tracking what you eat and balancing your meals to manage your health.
healthy food for COPD, fish, vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts
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According to the World Health Organization,[1] COPD is the 3rd leading cause of death, responsible for approximately 6% of total deaths which is millions of deaths worldwide. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which consists of chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is a long-term lung disease that makes it hard to breathe.

One of the main reasons why those who suffer from COPD should be cautious about the food they eat is that it may affect their breathing. Your body uses food as fuel for survival and day-to-day activities, so you need to know the right mix of nutrients in your diet. Through the use of remote patient monitoring, you and your healthcare team will work out a meal plan while tracking your health condition by using medical devices to measure physiologic readings and transmit that data to your healthcare provider. Meeting with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) will also help you get on track. Foods that fit into your healthy diet while promoting pulmonary health are specific, so let’s try to check this list of 8 healthy and nutritious COPD-good foods that will have you eating right.

Foods that have complex carbohydrates

You should incorporate carbohydrates, but you have to choose the right carbs. Carbohydrates are essentially sugar and do little for your body. To help your digestive system, choose complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber. It contains more nutrients than the long chains of sugar molecules and is, therefore, better for you. The body takes time to break down these molecules. Complex carbohydrates provide a relatively sustained release of energy. This includes fresh fruit and starchy vegetables, bran, whole grains, sweet potatoes, lentils, quinoa, oats, potatoes, and barley.

Potassium-rich foods

Potassium is a mineral that helps your muscles contract and aids nerve function. A potassium deficiency may cause your lungs to fail to expand and contract properly, putting your health at risk. Your body will then require plenty of potassium for proper lung function. Foods such as avocados, asparagus, beets, and dark leafy greens are good examples.

Fiber-rich foods

According to the American Lung Association, [2] a person with COPD should aim for around 20–30 grams of fiber each day. Fiber is another important ingredient in a healthy diet for COPD, according to an expert, MeiLan Han, MD, a pulmonologist at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. [3] Fiber is the indigestible part of plant food. This will help your food move along the digestive tract. In order to keep going and stay away from bloating and constipation, Dr. Han encourages her COPD patients to get enough fiber in their diets. Foods that contain a good amount of fiber are nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Other fiber-rich food examples are whole wheat bread, oats, whole grain cereals, brown rice, whole grain pasta, and legumes.

Protein-rich foods

According to a study in Vietnam,[4] it was found that COPD patients that had increased consumption of protein-rich foods at meals and snacks showed improved nutritional status and quality of life. People with COPD should have some protein in every meal to help with their energy boost. Good foods that are packed with protein, like milk, eggs, cheese, meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and peas or dried beans.

Mono and polyunsaturated fats

From a chemical standpoint,[5] polyunsaturated fats are simply fat molecules that have more than one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule and olive oil is an example. Mono- and poly-unsaturated fats are healthy fats that do not contain cholesterol. These are fats that come from plant sources, such as canola, safflower, and corn oils. Some foods that contain these fats like certain vegetable oils, such as olive oil and avocado oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, certain fish, including salmon, nuts and seeds, and avocados. All of which are a better options than saturated fats

Foods High in Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3s are considered “essential” fats. According to Alicia Romano, RD, a registered dietitian, omega-3 fats are rich in calories and can add an extra layer of value with a potential anti-inflammatory effect. [6] These fats will help people with COPD who find it difficult to eat enough to meet their daily energy needs. Omega-3-rich foods include canned light tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, walnuts, canola oil, green leafy vegetables, eggs, and other food products fortified with omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamin D Rich Foods

According to a recent study,[7] vitamin D deficiency is a usual incident in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and has been found to correspond directly to the severity of the disease. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, vitamin D is vital for the “formation, growth, and repair of bones and for normal calcium absorption and immune function.” This nutrient’s key role in COPD patients is to prevent the loss of lung function over time and they will probably recover from infection better than those dealing with a deficiency. Vitamin D is important for bone health, and not enough can lead to osteoporosis, a disease that is common in people with COPD. Good sources of vitamin D are egg yolks, salmon, flounder, canned light tuna, canned sardines, almonds, milk, vitamin D–fortified orange juice, milk, yogurt, and other dairy products fortified with vitamin D.

Hydrating foods and drinks

Being hydrated helps our organs function properly, especially in patients with COPD. Good hydration will help thin the mucus in your airways and allow easier removal from your lungs because COPD patients also tend to produce a lot of phlegm and other secretions.

According to the American Lung Association (ALA), you need to drink six to eight glasses of water per day, divided throughout the day to avoid overfilling your stomach.[2] Aside from water, you can have any healthy drink or caffeine-free fluid (such as milk, herbal teas, and juices), and eat fruits and vegetables. Most foods contribute a substantial amount of fluid as well. The most common hydrating foods are cucumbers, celery, and watermelon.

How DrKumo Helps

DrKumo RPM solutions with the most technological promise and compatibility will help COPD patients. Patients and healthcare providers need better access to each other to monitor and detect early risks. Early COPD exacerbation recognition has been a focus of RPM that gives faster intervention correlates to help achieve better health outcomes. Measuring and tracking medical devices in the form of remote patient monitoring (RPM) technologies will improve patients’ abilities to self-manage and decrease COPD’s economic and clinical burden while assisting patients’ health. To know more about DrKumo contact us or visit our website.


Eating healthfully can make changes in your current eating habits. It can help you feel better and avoid some health risks. A registered dietitian will also help you provide nutrition guidance, and give reliable information to meet your needs, help you create, and follow a personal action plan. These general nutritional guidelines for people living with COPD are suggested but remember each person’s needs are different and unique, so talk to your healthcare provider or RDN before you make changes to your diet.


  1. The top 10 causes of death. (2020, December 9). WHO | World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death
  2. Nutrition and COPD. (2021, June 10). American Lung Association | American Lung Association. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/living-with-copd/nutrition
  3. MeiLan Han, M.D., M.S. (n.d.). Welcome | University of Michigan | The Michigan Microbiome Project. https://microbe.med.umich.edu/people/meilan-han-md-ms
  4. Nutritional status, dietary intake, and health-related quality of life in outpatients with COPD. (n.d.). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6336029/
  5. Polyunsaturated fat. (n.d.). www.heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/polyunsaturated-fats
  6. Alicia romano, ms, rd, ldn, CNSC. (n.d.). Tufts Medical Center | Boston Hospital and Academic Medical Center. https://www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org/physiciandirectory/alicia-romano
  7. BobG. (n.d.). Vitamin D deficiency prevalent in chronic lung patients. National Emphysema Foundation. https://www.emphysemafoundation.org/index.php/the-lung/copd-emphysema/83-copd-emphysema-articles/201-vitamin-d-deficiency-prevalent-in-chronic-lung-patients

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