COPD is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. It is caused by damage to the lungs over many years, usually from smoking. Shortness of breath creates difficulty in eating which can lead to weight loss and malnutrition, which is a common complication of COPD.  Prolonged malnutrition is associated with a decrease in the survival rate of COPD patients, therefore following a healthy COPD diet plays an important role in the treatment of your COPD.

Although a healthy diet cannot cure COPD, it helps to feel better and gives more energy for daily activities, including breathing. Eating right can also helps to fight chest infections, which are common among patients with COPD.

Tips to avoid shortness of breath while eating

  • Stop smoking. It is never too late to quit smoking., quitting smoking will help slow the disease and improve your quality of life.                            
  • Use medications that make breathing easier and/or clear the airway one hour before eating.
  • Rest before eating if eating makes you short of breath or tired.
  • Eat while sitting up. This helps remove pressure on your lungs.
  • Oxygen should be used while eating.. Eating and digestion require energy, which causes the body to use more oxygen.
  • Eat six small meals each day instead of three large ones so that the stomach is never extremely full. A full stomach can interfere with breathing by pushing on the diaphragm.
  • Drink your beverage at the end of the meal. Drinking before or during the meal can fill you up more quickly.
  • Avoid or eat only small amounts of gas-forming foods (they bloat the abdomen and make breathing difficult). These include onions, cauliflower, broccoli, melons, peas, corn, cucumbers, cabbage, brussels sprouts, turnips, raw apples, and beans (except green beans). Fried and greasy foods can also cause gas or bloating.
  • Eat and chew slowly so that there are less chances of shortness of breath.

Eat healthy foods

  • Eat a varied diet. Eat fruits and vegetables, dairy products, cereal and grains, and meats.


  • Avoid foods that are difficult to chew.
  • Use less salt. Too much salt can cause you to retain fluids, which may interfere with your breathing.
    • Use herbs or no-salt spices to flavor your foods.
    • Don't add salt to foods while cooking.
    • Buy packaged foods low in salt