When your body has to work extra hard to breathe because of lung issues such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), help it out by “eating healthy.”
Digesting big, heavy meals shifts your body’s resources to your stomach, when those resources are really needed to deliver oxygen so you can breathe.
Also, overfilling your stomach puts pressure on your lungs. That’s why some people feel as if they can’t breathe after eating too much at their Thanksgiving feast!
Make Like a Cow and Graze
One way to give your body a break is to eat smallish, nutrition-dense meals more frequently throughout your day. Low oxygen can sap your energy, so you want foods that supply energy steadily (NOT sugary snacks that spike your energy but then lead to a sugar crash).
How Sweet It Is!
One food that is packed with nutrients and deliciousness is the orange-fleshed sweet potato (fun fact: sweet potatoes are in the Convolvulaceae family of plants, just like morning glory vines!).
I recently saw an article about Nutrition for Pulmonary Fibrosis on the Pulmonary Fibrosis News website. It included a recipe for Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup.
My current favorite sweet potato recipe also includes black beans, along with kale and mushrooms:
- With a fork, pierce two sweet potatoes all over and microwave until squishy.
- Heat up about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan and then add 1 clove of garlic, chopped; some ancho chili powder, cumin, and a touch of brown sugar (to taste); and 1 thinly sliced shallot (I use a mandolin slicer) sauté until softened.
- Add about ¾ cup of chopped kale and ½ cup mushrooms (my faves are creminis). Sauté until kale and mushrooms are tender.
- Stir a can of rinsed and drained black beans into the veggie mixture until warmed through.
- Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and kind of mush the insides a little. Pile the bean, mushroom and kale mixture on top.
I like to drop a dollop of unsweetened greek yogurt on it, along with some shredded cheddar cheese.
Easy-peasy, nutrient-dense, and delicious! I’m drooling just thinking about it!
So, help your body out by not stuffing yourself full of empty calories.
Talk to a dietician about what you like to eat, so you can come up with an eating plan that helps support your health AND your cravings.