It’s with COPD Important to Maintain Weight

image059People with chronic lung disease often find it difficult to eat and as a result will begin to lose weight. The act of breathing will normally use about 100 calories a day. For those with chronic obstruc­tive lung disease, the calorie usage goes up to about 430 to 720 cal­ ories a day as you try and take in oxygen and get rid of your carbon dioxide. If you con­ tinue to lose weight, your muscles will become inef­ fective and you will be­ come more susceptible to infection.

Many have found eating more fre­ quent, smaller meals through­ out the day rather than three larger meals, has made the biggest difference. Also, don’t rush and be sure to wear your oxygen.

Jim and Mary Nelson told their EFFORTS (Emphysema Foundation for Our Right to Survive at friends how they changed their way of eating to help Jim maintain his weight.

Bending over when preparing meals restricts breathing and they suggest you keep things at a handy height. Cook more food than you need and freeze the rest. For safety reasons, move your oxygen tubing from front to back while cooking. Keep it as sim­ ple as using paper plates to reduce cleanup.

Besides eating six to eight small meals a day, they try to conserve energy while boosting calories. They keep nutritious foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables and nuts for snacking. Nuts are a con­ centrated source of healthy fats, and they really boost one’s calories. They are also packed with antioxidants, which have lots of heart­healthy benefits and fight inflammation.

Try spreading peanut butter on toast or bagels, tossing nuts into salads or a stir fry.

Eating more protein and getting more calo­ ries, while keeping an eye on nutrition, is a good way to fight weight loss.

Eating a lean protein is very important for your muscles and immune system. Food texture may be an issue. It’s harder to digest a steak than it is some light­ er meats, beans or other sources of protein. Healthy fats such as mono­unsaturated fats in canola oil, avocados and nuts are heart healthy and provide extra calories. Because of the way fat is digested, high­fat foods do not tax the respiratory system like digestion of other foods can. Try marinat­ ing meats in an olive oil­based vinaigrette. Protein in eggs can be very helpful in adding bulk to the diet of someone with COPD. Cheese is a concentrated source of calories but dairy fat isn’t the best thing for your arteries.

Stay hydrated but you may want to drink less during your meals to avoid bloating Fried foods can cause bloating.

Ice cream, puddings, custards and cakes made with eggs are a great way to bulk up on fat and protein. Add cheese to sandwich­ es, pastas, and casseroles or mix dried milk powder into recipes.

A recent study found that people with COPD who ate more of four foods – fish, grapefruits, bananas and cheese seemed to have better lung function. A Mediterra­ nean­style diet with fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, lean protein and olive oil would be good to follow.

Mary recommends the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ChooseMyPlate Web­ site ( as a good resource for learning how to balance meals.


Mark Mangus’s Famous Shake Recipe to Maintain Weight

1 Package Instant Breakfast mix 6 oz. Whole milk

4 oz. High­fat ice cream

2 tbsp. Vegetable oil (Do not use olive oil, it won’t taste good!)

image061-2Blend above ingredients. You may add flavor by using the chocolate, vanilla or strawberry Instant Breakfast and by adding ice cream, jelly, jam or syrup. You may also add fruit as desired.

This shake provides a total of 875 cal­ ories plus any additional additives. Sip on it throughout the day as a supplement to regular meals. While it packs most daily vitamins needed, it doesn’t contain all of them. Lactose intolerant folks can substitute nondairy ingredients which will decrease the calorie count. Adding more oil will add 125 calories per teaspoon, though it is not recommended to go above 2 tablespoons.


Pasta and Chicken Salad

(from the COPD International website at

2 Chicken breasts, skin on, grilled or lightly sautéed

4 oz. (dry) Pasta shapes, boiled al dente,

drained and cooled

2 Ribs celery, finely diced

½ Sweet pepper, finely diced

½ Sweet onion (purple or Vidalia type), finely diced

1 tsp. Dry basil leaves

¼ tsp. Dry oregano leaves

¼ cup Pumpkin seeds

½ tsp. Coarse­ground pepper

½ cup Extra­virgin olive oil

3 tbsp. Lemon juice or rice vinegar 1 Clove garlic, mashed

Several lettuce leaves

Remove and discard the chicken skin, cube the meat into bite­size pieces and add to the pasta. Add the celery, pepper, onion, herbs, and seeds, and mix thoroughly. Combine oil, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl, whisking into an emulsion, then drizzle over the mixed salad. Serve on bed of lettuce with sprinkling of pepper. About 4 servings.