A moderate amount of a wide variety of foods is ideal. Your physical and mental well-being depend a lot on what you eat. There are no wonder foods. The wonder is that fresh foods possess the nutrients your body needs to perform its best. Eating right can improve your general health and protect you from diseases.

Ask your doctor which foods are best for your condition.

Every day you should choose foods from each group:

  • Milk group (2 servings)
    • milk
    • yogurt
    • cheese
    • pudding
    • ice cream
  • Fruit-vegetable group (4 servings)
    • dark green leafy vegetables
    • orange vegetables
    • citrus fruits
  • Meat group (2 servings)
    • meats
    • poultry
    • fish
    • eggs
  • Grain group (4 servings)
    • whole grain bread
    • cereal
    • pasta

Servings Defined

In the MILK group a serving means:
1 cup milk, yogurt or pudding or 1 1/2 oz. cheese or 1 3/4 cup ice cream.

In the MEAT group a serving means:
3 oz. meat or 3 medium eggs (limit to three a week).

In the FRUIT AND VEGETABLE group a serving means:
1/2 cup juice or 1 piece of small fruit or 1/2 cup vegetable.

In the GRAIN group a serving means:
1 slice whole grain bread or 1/2 cup cooked cereal or pasta or 3/4 cup dry cereal.

Are You Short Of Breath While Eating?

What you eat affects your body’s ability to resist infections. How you eat is equally important.  The way you eat may affect the way you breathe.
If shortness of breath interferes with the enjoyment of your meals, here are a few helpful tips.

  • Eat slowly – pause occasionally, and put your utensils down between bites.
  • Take small bites and chew thoroughly with your mouth closed.
  • Eat six small meals and not three big meals a day. This meal pattern reduces the amount of oxygen you need to chew and digest each meal. There is no need to fuss over extra meals. Just eat the servings of milk, bread, and fruit or dessert between the cooked meals.
  • Breathe evenly while chewing. Take a few deep breaths if you have to.
  • Instead of skipping your morning meal because of shortness of breath, drink a liquid breakfast. Here’s an easy instant breakfast.

Breakfast shake
1 cup milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey or molasses
1 banana, sliced
Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend at high speed for about 10 seconds or until well mixed.

Consult your physician if you have any questions.

Do You Feel Bloated?

Some foods make your body healthy and therefore make breathing easier. Other foods make breathing more difficult. Avoid gas-forming foods that may bloat your stomach and make breathing difficult for you.

You can determine which foods affect you by having trial periods and observing the results.

The following fruits and vegetables could possibly be gas forming:

  • Vegetables
    • Kidney beans
    • Lima beans
    • Navy beans
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cabbage
    • Cauliflower
    • Corn
    • Cucumbers
    • Kohlrabi
    • Leeks
    • Lentils
    • Onions
    • Peas, split or black-eyed
    • Peppers, green
    • Pimentos
    • Radishes
    • Rutabagas
    • Sauerkraut
    • Scallions
    • Shallots
    • Soybeans
    • Turnips
  • Fruits
    • Apples (raw)
    • Avocados
    • Cantaloupe
    • Honeydew melon
    • Watermelon

Consult your physician if you have any questions.

Are You Overweight?

If you are overweight, your doctor will be happy to suggest a proper diet for your condition. Excess weight makes your heart and lungs work harder. Also, your extra body weight may interfere with your breathing and demand more oxygen.

The slimmer weigh
When you want to lose weight, you need all the help you can get. Here are some tips.

Shop slim

  1. Shop after you’ve eaten a satisfying meal to avoid impulsive buying of fattening foods.
  2. Shop from a list and stick to it.
  3. Shop only for nutritious foods:
    • Lean meats, poultry, fish and legumes
    • Whole grain breads and cereals
    • Plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables

Cook slim

  1. Reduce fat and avoid sugar
  2. Prepare lots of bulky foods:
    • At least one fresh fruit at or between each meal
    • At least two vegetables at lunch and dinner

Eat slim

  1. Eat more slowly. Chew your foods well. This also helps you to breathe easier.
  2. Take time to sit down and enjoy your meals.
  3. If you nibble while you watch television, take up a hobby that will keep your hands busy and out of the cookie jar.

Drink slim

  1. Drink less coffee, teas and colas. Caffeine can stimulate your appetite.
  2. Quench thirst with water, decaffeinated coffee or herbal teas without caffeine.
  3. Watch out at cocktail time.
  4. Avoid sweetened juices and drinks. Try mixing fruit juice with seltzer water. Just think—one cup of apple juice has the same calories as three apples!

Act slim

  1. Engage in physical activity regularly.
  2. Find some activity you really like to do and do a little each day. Exercise helps you lose weight faster and maintain your loss more easily. Exercise also has a calming effect, helping relax your muscles. You help yourself move and breathe more easily by exercising regularly.

Consult your physician if you have questions about your weight.

Do You Feel Weak?

If your condition has made you less active than before, your muscles may be getting smaller and weaker. To rebuild your muscles, you need vitamins and minerals from fruits, vegetables and grains. You also need extra protein.

The following foods can help meet your protein needs. Each item listed contains approximately 15 grams of protein. In order to get the daily recommended amount of protein (60-75 gms.), you need to eat 4-5 of the following items:

  • 3 medium eggs (limit to once a week)
  • 2 oz. natural cheese (Swiss, cheddar, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 cups milk or yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter or 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 1 cup cooked beans (lentils, chickpeas, etc.)
  • 3/4 cup cooked soybeans
  • 2 cakes bean curd (tofu)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Weakness may also result from diuretics or water pills that cause the body to lose potassium. Other diuretics, however, keep your body from losing potassium. Check with your doctor. He may suggest that you need to add more potassium-rich foods to your diet.

Foods that are high in potassium include:

  • Milk
  • Oranges
  • Orange juice
  • Dried fruits
  • Bananas
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Beef
  • Legumes
  • Potatoes

Consult your physician if you feel weak.

Are You Confined To Your Bed?

Conditions producing prolonged immobility can create problems. However, with adequate care, difficulty can be avoided.

Constipation becomes a problem following prolonged immobility. Careful attention to the following simple measures is important:

Fluids: Drink 6-8 glasses per day. Include juices such as cranberry juice. Check with your physician.

Diet: Eat high fiber foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads and cereals.

Laxatives: Prune juice with a little lemon juice to improve its flavor aids in elimination.

Kidney stones
Prolonged immobility may cause calcium depletion from the bones. There are many factors that affect the proper balance between calcium and calcium depletion. Normally, weight bearing and muscle use help maintain this balance. However, during prolonged immobility, calcium depletion increases. Certain exercises can prevent calcium removal from bones. Ask your physician what exercises he/she recommends.

Since kidneys are the main route of calcium excretion, the depletion of calcium from bones may cause formation of calcium stones in the urinary tract.

To help avoid stone formation, a low calcium diet of about 400mg. daily is recommended. This low level is achieved mainly by the removal of milk and dairy products from the diet.

Consult your physician if you have any questions.

How Can You Shake The Salt Habit?

Your doctor may have suggested that you restrict your salt or sodium intake. Salt refers to sodium chloride (NaCl). When it comes to your health, the real concern is with the sodium (Na) part of salt.

Your lung condition may have put a strain on your heart. Eating excessive salt may cause your body to retain extra water and therefore increase your blood volume. Your heart then has to work harder, and your breathing may become more difficult. Too much salt may also cause leg and ankle swelling.

Here are some tips on how to enjoy eating the low-sodium way:

  1. Begin by not using salt at the table. Then, slowly decrease the use of salt in cooking. You’ll get used to the taste.
  2. Use onions, garlic and peppers in place of salt. The uses of herbs and spices are limitless—from allspice to thyme.
  3. If you’re uneasy about experimenting with low salt cooking, pick up a low-salt cookbook.
  4. Use fresh meats and frozen vegetables. If you depend on processed foods, buy the low sodium or low salt versions.
  5. Switch to lower sodium snacks like unsalted popcorn and nuts, yogurt, fruits, or crisp raw vegetables.
  6. Read food labels and avoid or use sparingly products that have the word salt, sodium, Na, or soda in the first three ingredients listed.
  7. Unless prescribed by your doctor, try to stay away from salt substitutes or “light” salts. Potassium has been substituted and there may be a danger of potassium overload in some people.

Sources of sodium or salt that you should limit or avoid:

  • Salted or smoked meats such as ham, bologna, salt pork, bacon, sausage, corned beef, cold cuts or hot dogs.
  • Food prepared in brine such as sauerkraut, pickles or olives.
  • Condiments like soy sauce, steak sauce, garlic salt, onion salt, lemon pepper catsup, prepared mustard or MSG (monosodium glutamate).
  • Snacks like salted popcorn, nuts, pretzels and potato chips.
  • Processed foods such as prepared soups, canned vegetables, or cheeses.
  • Beverages such as vegetable juices, club soda and beer.

Consult your physician if you have any questions or before making changes in your diet.

Do You Drink Enough Liquids?

Drinking sufficient amounts of liquids helps keep your mucus thin and therefore easier to cough up. When mucus does not accumulate, your breathing is easier. Also, the chances of having infections are lessened. You should drink 6-8 glasses of fluid a day unless you have a medical condition in which liquids should be restricted.

What to drink

  • Water is our most vital nutrient and yet is often neglected. Use it as a beverage and in soups.
  • Fruit juices, while not necessarily low in calories, provide essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Decaffeinated coffee and decaffeinated tea will spare you most of the adverse effects of caffeine.
  • Milk is a good drink, and contains most nutrients except iron and Vitamin C. Contrary to popular belief, it does not thicken saliva or cause mucus formation.

What not to drink

  • Drinks containing alcohol are high in calories and have limited nutritional value. Too much alcohol may slow down your breathing and may inhibit your ability to cough up mucus.
  • Soft drinks have no nutritional value and should not be used to increase your fluid intake, especially if you have a medical condition which requires you to restrict your calories.
  • “Fruit-flavored drinks” are really sugared water with very little fruit juice in them. These sweetened drinks are not the best way to quench your thirst. The sugar actually increases the body’s need for water. Fruits, though juicy, contribute insignificant amounts to your total fluid intake.

Consult your physician if you have any questions or before making changes in your diet.


Do You Need A Multivitamin or Mineral Supplement?

Vitamins are organic substances from living matter—plants and animals. They are required in the diet in such tiny amounts that all the needed vitamins together add up to about an eighth of a teaspoon a day. If you regularly eat a variety of fresh and not overly processed foods, you do not need a multivitamin or mineral supplement.

Unfortunately, you probably don’t eat this way, so you may benefit from a low-potency, well-balanced multiple vitamin and mineral supplement, especially if you:

  • habitually follow a poorly balanced diet.
  • eat out often.
  • depend on highly processed convenience foods.
  • eat high fat and high sugar snacks which displace nutritious foods.
  • omit meals regularly.
  • frequently consume fewer than 1500 calories per day.
  • have or are recovering from an illness, anemia, or an injury.
  • take medicines daily (e.g., certain antibiotics, anticonvulsants, diabetes drugs).
  • smoke heavily.
  • have a lot of stress.
  • are pregnant or take oral contraceptives.
  • consume alcoholic beverages excessively.

If you want to know how much you need, compare your supplement with the Recommended Daily Dietary Allowance table at the end of this document.

Purchasing bottles of individual vitamins or minerals is not a smart idea. This practice is costly and there is also the danger of overdosing. This is especially applicable with Vitamins A, D, and C and minerals like iron, zinc, and copper. Use only low-potency, well-balanced multiple supplements and take no more than one daily.

You may have heard that “natural” supplements are better than so-called synthetic ones. There is no difference. The only natural vitamins are found in foods.

Supplements are most effective when taken with meals since food helps their absorption and use in the body. Also, smaller doses are absorbed more effectively than one large dose. Therefore, a supplement with the daily dose broken down into two or three tablets is the most effective–if you can remember to take them.

Finally, supplements can never take the place of a healthy diet of fresh, unrefined and not overly processed foods.

Consult your physician if you have any questions about supplements.

Are You Getting Enough Fiber?

Fiber is the portion of vegetables, fruits, grains and beans which passes through the digestive tract into the large intestine almost without being digested. Once in the large intestine, about half of the fiber is fermented by intestinal bacteria.

What fiber can do for you

Bowel function
Fiber is able to absorb many times its weight in water and increase the bulk of stool. Diets higher in fiber are used to treat and prevent hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. Fiber acts like a sponge in the large intestine, drawing water into feces, making the stool larger and softer to pass. However, patients with bowel disorders should not start a high-fiber diet without first consulting their physician.

Weight control
Fiber itself has few, if any, calories. Many fibrous foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are themselves lower in calories. It also takes a long time to chew most of the fibrous foods. This slows down the process of eating, allowing time for signals of “fullness” to reach the brain before you have overeaten.

Heart disease
Some types of dietary fiber have the ability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. It is not yet known, however, whether this in turn will reduce the risk of heart disease.

Another recently demonstrated benefit of dietary fiber is its effect on blood sugar levels and insulin requirements. Fiber seems to slow the absorption of carbohydrates, and some carbohydrates may actually pass through the digestive tract unabsorbed.

You know that you are getting enough fiber by using your built-in feedback mechanism: your stool. Large, soft stools are the result of a high fiber diet. Small, hard stools result from a diet low in fiber.

Foods that are high in fiber include:

  • whole grain breads and cereals—bran, whole wheat, rye or pumpernickel
  • fresh fruits
  • fresh vegetables and salads
  • legumes: chick peas, lentils, dried beans, peas, etc.

Consult your physician if you have any questions.