Your lungs rely on a healthy diet just as much as your heart does.
There is a strong message in the heart health space about diet – and rightly so – but diet plays a vital role in lung health too, and overall well-being.
Our lungs benefit from a nutritious and balanced diet as much as any other organ in our body.
Lung Foundation Australia’s Respiratory Care Nurse, Nicole Parkinson said one of the first questions she asks her patients is in relation to their diets.
“Being in a healthy weight range is very important for anyone living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). If you are under or overweight, you may become weak and tire more easily, have increased breathlessness and more difficulty doing your everyday activities. It may also increase your risk of getting infections,” Nicole said.
People living with chronic lung conditions such as COPD use 25 – 50% more energy than people with normal lung function. This is mostly because of the changes in your lungs, as they’re working harder to breathe and using more energy.
“Food provides your body with energy, including the energy to breathe. Anyone living with COPD requires more energy to breathe than a healthy person. Speaking to a dietician for advice can be very beneficial for anyone living with COPD, to help you maintain a healthy weight range,” Nicole said.
No single food will give you all the nutrients that you need – it must be a variety of nutritious foods across each of the food groups such as vegetables, fruit, grains, lean meats and dairy.
“A balanced and well-nourished diet helps your body to better fight infections, COPD flare-ups and daily symptoms. Sometimes eating a balanced diet might mean making some changes to your current routine or eating. It might mean a little bit more planning around what you will eat in the upcoming week and balancing your meals so they’re well-portioned and cover the different food groups,” Nicole said.
“The Australian Dietary Guidelines help you choose wisely from a wide range of foods and drinks. A selection of servings from each of the five food groups a day will help to provide the energy, vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain good health.”
You can book a call with Nicole by calling our freecall Information and Support Centre on 1800 654 301.
Pumpkin, leek and feta mini frittata
Easy | 6 servings
- olive or canola oil spray
- 1 leek, white part only, cut lengthways and finely sliced
- 600g peeled pumpkin, cut into 1cm cubes
- 6 eggs, lightly beaten
- cup low-fat milk
- 95g reduced-fat feta cheese, cut into 5mm cubes
- cup chopped basil leaves
- small green salad, to serve
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan forced).
Spray a muffin pan with oil. Spray a non-stick frying pan with oil and place on medium heat.
Add leek and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
Add pumpkin, spray with oil and stir to coat vegetables. Add cup water, cover pan and steam for 10 minutes until just tender.
In a medium sized jug, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with black pepper.
Remove pumpkin mixture from heat and stir through feta and basil.
Spoon pumpkin mixture evenly into 12 muffin pan. Pour egg mixture to almost fill muffin holes. Bake for 25 minutes, or until firm and golden.
Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold with a green salad.
Source: Queensland Government, Healthier. Happier – healthier.qld.gov.au