Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic respiratory condition in which the lungs undergo severe damage, leading to the thickening of tissues and internal. As a result of such damage to the respiratory system, patients of this condition find face a lot of breathing difficulties. Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic disease, which means there is no cure. However, one can slow the progression of this disease with some changes in lifestyle and nutrition habits.
To slow the progression of pulmonary fibrosis, certain foods, like the ones discussed below, can be of great help to patients:
Fish like salmon, tuna, and herring are rich in omega-3s fatty acids. These nutrients are quite beneficial for pulmonary fibrosis patients as omega-3s protect the lungs from unwanted infections as reduce inflammation. Sardines and mackerel are other great examples of omega-3-rich fatty fish that are quite beneficial for those suffering from this condition.
Brown rice, oats, quinoa, whole-wheat, and barley are whole-grain foods containing a wide wide variety of nutrients. Some examples include vitamin E, fibers, selenium, fatty acids, as well as other antioxidants. Whole-grain foods also contain anti-inflammatory properties, which help in reducing inflammation in the respiratory system. Moreover, such whole foods are rich in complex carbohydrates, that are necessary for the body to generate energy.
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and Swiss chard must be a part of one’s everyday meals, as recommended by experts. In fact, including all sorts of colorful fruits and vegetables in daily meals is important since they are rich in powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants are responsible for protecting the body from external pathogens as well as repairing the cells and tissues that are damaged due to pulmonary fibrosis. Thus, these green vegetables can help slow the progression of pulmonary fibrosis in the long run.
Apart from green veggies, other colorful foods such as berries are excellent for improving lung health. Blue- and strawberries contain antioxidants like anthocyanin. These flavonoids help in slowing down lung damage as a result of pulmonary fibrosis inflammation.
There are certain foods that can potentially worsen pulmonary fibrosis in people and lead to rapid lung damage. Some such foods that should be avoided in this condition are as follows.
Deli meats, sausages, bacon, and cold cuts contain nitrites. These chemical compounds are added for the curing of meat, which ensures that the flavor and texture of these foods are enhanced. Unfortunately, these nitrites are also responsible for straining the lungs and are known to cause inflammation and water retention in the body. Thus avoiding such processed meats is an imminent step for pulmonary fibrosis patients.
Consuming alcohol can cause damage to one’s body in a multitude of ways. The presence of various toxins in alcohol puts a lot of strain on the liver which is responsible for the detoxification of the blood. The sulfites in alcohol can further worsen respiratory issues such as asthma and thus cause a lot more damage to the lungs. Thus, consuming alcoholic beverages like wine and beer must be done in moderation to avoid the worsening of lung health. Ideally, such beverages must be completely avoided when suffering from any condition.
Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and lettuce are normally considered to be quite healthy for the body. However, these foods have been observed to cause bloating in some individuals. Bloating can add a lot of stress to the lungs and the diaphragm. Such vegetables can also cause quite a bit of breathing difficulty in people. Thus, limiting the number of cruciferous vegetables included in one’s daily nutritional routine is essential to avoid bloating in pulmonary fibrosis patients.
French fries, onion rings, etc. contain a large number of unhealthy fats. Such foods can cause unnecessary mass gain and ultimately add a lot of stress to the respiratory system. Moreover, fried foods may cause bloating in some situations and add pressure to the diaphragm. Sometimes, packaged fried foods may also contain artificial additives and extra salt, which is quite adverse for the body in the long run.
Even though pulmonary fibrosis has no cure, certain medications can be taken to help slow down the progression of the disease. This form of treatment keeps the lungs healthy for a longer period of time. Some common medications prescribed for pulmonary fibrosis are,
Nintedanib is an oral medication that is sold under the brand name Ofev®. This medication is usually prescribed for people suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or other interstitial lung diseases. since it helps in treating chronic scarring of tissues that are observed in such diseases. It also helps in slowing the decline of lung health in these diseases since it restricts the action of enzymes that cause fibrosis. Common side effects observed when taking this medication may include nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, and loss of weight.
Pirfenidone is a pyridone medication that is sold under the brand name Esbriet®. This small molecule medication helps in reducing lung fibrosis and scarring that may unknowingly occur in a patient’s respiratory system. Pirfenidone restricts the production of certain hormones and enzymes that are responsible for damage to lung tissue. This medication is available in tablet form and can cause certain side effects. Some such effects include heartburn, stomach ache, dizziness, headache, and nausea. Usually, this medication needs to be taken after a meal three times a day for the most benefit.