Foods to eat and avoid for managing pulmonary fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive disease of the lungs. It occurs when the lung tissue gets damaged and scarred, causing shortness of breath, dry cough, fatigue, chest pain, appetite loss, and other discomforts. Unfortunately, there’s no complete cure for pulmonary fibrosis. However, proper nutrition can help manage the condition. This article lists the foods patients must eat and avoid, along with a few medications, including Esbriet®, as treatment options for pulmonary fibrosis.

Foods to eat
The following foods can help manage pulmonary fibrosis:

Whole grains
Whole grains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice are packed with fiber. They also have nutrients that can help lower cholesterol levels and decrease inflammation, improving the quality of life among pulmonary fibrosis patients.

Lean protein
Protein helps strengthen the chest and abdomen muscles, reducing breathing issues. One must choose high-quality lean proteins like skinless chicken breasts, eggs, and fatty fish. Some excellent plant-based protein sources include beans, peas, nuts, legumes, and tofu.

Fruits and veggies
Fresh fruits and vegetables like carrots, celery, spinach, berries, kiwi, and pineapple are loaded with a slew of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help support lung health and ease pulmonary fibrosis symptoms. Plus, they’re high in fiber and can boost digestion.

Foods to avoid
Certain foods can worsen pulmonary fibrosis symptoms. These include:

Fried foods
Fried foods, such as French fries, fried chicken, and potato chips, can cause throat irritation. This may trigger cough and also lead to bloating and gastric disturbances, making breathing difficult. Moreover, fried foods can cause fat gain, which can further worsen breathing problems.

Cured meats
Cured meats are loaded with nitrates, which act as a preservative and help meats maintain their color. Studies show that nitrates can damage lung tissue and worsen pulmonary fibrosis symptoms. Therefore, one must avoid cured meats like bacon, hot dogs, ham, and salami.

Medications for pulmonary fibrosis
Besides a healthy meal plan, these medications can also help control pulmonary fibrosis symptoms:

Esbriet® (pirfenidone)
Many doctors recommend Esbriet® as a treatment option for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. This prescription medication may help slow down the rate of fibrosis or scarring in the lungs.

OFEV® (nintedanib)
The FDA has approved OFEV® for treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The medication can reduce the rate of decline in lung function. It’s available in the form of a pill and is usually used twice a day.

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