One problem many people with COPD encounter is fatigue and low amounts of energy. Walking around your home can even be enough to make you want to sit down and take a break, also if you feel as if you are breathing fine. This is because your body is working harder to make sure you are getting enough oxygen throughout. Your lungs are working harder to take in enough air to get the oxygen to your bloodstream, which takes a considerable amount of energy, aka calories.
Those with COPD need to be sure they are getting the proper calories and nutrients on a daily basis since people with COPD use 10 times more calories than someone with healthy lungs. This doesn't mean you can eat high calorie, unhealthy foods – you still need to eat healthy to prevent other problems, like heart attacks or type 2 diabetes.
Maintaining your energy level is important because without energy you won't be able to do the things that will help keep you healthy, like getting an adequate amount of physical activity. Your body can't fight off illnesses without energy, either.
If you feel yourself low on energy, here are some foods that you should start eating more. They are healthy and provide the nutrients you need for more energy.
Foods High in Complex Carbohydrates
Eat these for more fiber and energy. It's recommended that you get 25 to 30 grams just for proper bowel function: Potatoes, apples, whole grain bread, raspberries, dried beans, peas, whole grain cereal, celery, oatmeal, carrots, broccoli, whole grain crackers, amaranth, pearl barley, asparagus, yams, sweet potatoes, prunes, strawberries, corn, chickpeas.
Foods High in Protein
You need plenty of protein in your diet to help keep your muscles and organs healthy, as well as bring your energy back up: Almonds, chicken, mackerel, eggs, peanut butter, cheese, Greek yogurt, granola, walnuts, pistachios, edamame, cottage cheese, tuna salad, salmon, turkey breast, lean beef, halibut, mozzarella cheese, pork chops, tofu, dairy milk, soy milk, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, cashews, pecans, flax seeds.
Foods High in Healthy Fats, AKA Mono - and Polyunsaturated Fats
Help yourself to foods that contain plant oils that are a liquid at room temperature. Fats and oils that contain cholesterol solidify when they cool: soybean oil, olive oil, cottonseed oil, papaya, cantaloupe, crab, oysters, lobster, bluefin tuna, herring, halibut, shrimp, walnuts, kale, leeks, winter squash, bok choy (Chinese cabbage), salmon, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, pine nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, avocados, canola oil, peanut butter, sesame oil, safflower oil, olives, almond butter, hazelnuts, pecans.
Foods High in Vitamin B12
Eat more of this vitamin especially for more energy: clams, oysters, mussels, salmon, tuna, mackerel, halibut, herring, crab, lobster, mozzarella cheese, Swiss cheese, eggs, liver, dairy milk, soy milk, liver, caviar, octopus, sardines, shrimp, scallops, yogurt, cod.
Information on this page is for reference and educational purposes only. For more information about COPD, talk to your doctor or primary care provider.
Page last updated: October 30, 2018
- Cleveland Clinic. Nutritional Guidelines for People with COPD. Last reviewed: December 31, 2011. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9451-nutritional-guidelines-for-people-with-copd
- Cleveland Clinic. 10 Best Food Choices for COPD. Last updated: March 30, 2016. https://www.everydayhealth.com/copd-pictures/10-best-food-choices-for-copd.aspx#04
- WebMD. Energy-Boosting Foods for COPD. Last reviewed: July 31, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/lung/copd/ss/slideshow-energy-boosting-foods