Food for Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition characterized by gradual scarring of your lung tissue. Over time, your lung tissue thickens, making it difficult for your organs to reap necessary oxygen. Common symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis include coughing, fatigue, lethargy and loss of appetite. In addition to medications, oxygen therapy and surgery in some cases, a healthy diet might help manage your symptoms and potential complications. For best results, seek guidance from your doctor or dietitian.

A nutritious, balanced diet might help manage pulmonary fibrosis symptoms. (Image: samuiboy/iStock/Getty Images)

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are dense in nutrients and calories, two important attributes since pulmonary fibrosis often leads to unintentional weight loss, according to If your appetite is reduced, consuming healthy, high-calorie foods can help ease the process of weight gain or maintenance. Walnuts and flaxseed also provide omega-3 fatty acids, essential fats with anti-inflammatory properties and that promote positive brain function. For heightened wellness benefits, snack on nuts and seeds rather than foods high in saturated fat, such as potato chips, nachos and french fries.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are prime sources of antioxidants, which support your body's ability to protect itself and recover from infections and disease. Antioxidant-rich foods might improve symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a condition characterized by frequent acid reflux and heartburn that can contribute to or worsen pulmonary fibrosis. Fruits and vegetables particularly rich in antioxidants include berries, cherries, kiwi, cantaloupe, leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, squash, carrots and bell peppers.

Whole Grains

Carbohydrate-rich foods provide glucose, your body's primary energy source. While refined foods, such as white bread and sweets, provide glucose, they might disrupt your blood sugar and energy levels and contain less nutrient and fiber content than whole grains. For best results, replace these foods with whole grain options, such as 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, wild rice, whole quinoa, pearled barley, old-fashioned oatmeal and air-popped popcorn. When purchasing prepared foods, check ingredient lists to ensure that whole grains are listed as primary ingredients.

Dairy Products

Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, provide significant amounts of protein, calcium and vitamin D. The Pulmonary Fibrosis Association recommends a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Since whole milk products contain rich saturated fat content, choose skim and low-fat varieties most often. To add calories to foods and beverages, prepare oatmeal, smoothies, mashed potatoes, soups and stews with milk rather than water. Add powdered dry milk to the mixture for even more calories. Low-fat yogurt and kefir contain probiotics, healthy bacteria that promote digestive health and immune function. Probiotics might provide exceptional benefits if you struggle with GERD or other digestive problems. If you don't tolerate or enjoy dairy products, consume soy or other non-dairy equivalents for similar protein, caloric and calcium benefits.

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