Pneumonia: Symptoms, What To Eat & Avoid When Suffering From This Severe Lung Disease Photo credit: Thinkstock
New Delhi: A balanced and varied diet is important for everyone to stay healthy and fit. But, if you have a lung disease like pneumonia, COPD, or asthma, eating well is especially important. This is because foods and liquids contain essential nutrients to help prevent or treat infections and keep your lungs healthy.
Pneumonia is a serious infection of the lungs that can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. It inflames the pulmonary alveoli, which may fill with fluid or pus which can cause symptoms such as cough, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. Anyone can get pneumonia, however, children (especially infants) and people 65 years of age and older have an increased risk of getting the infection.
What are the signs and symptoms of pneumonia?
Some symptoms of pneumonia are:
- Fever, sweating and chills
- Shortness of breath
- Increased respiratory rate
- Increased pulse
- Pain in the chest (severe when breathing deeply)
- Fatigue and weakness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle pain
- Confusion or delirium (common in older patients)
- Cyanosis (a bluish cast on the skin and mucous membranes)
Nutrition in pneumonia
Patients with pneumonia are at great risk of having an altered nutritional status, said Janvi Chitalia, nutritionist and wellness coach, who recommends the following nutritional tips to help with the recovery process while ensuring that deterioration nutritional does not happen. As the first step in the management of pneumonia, the patient should be protected from vomiting, if present.
Food: what to eat, what to avoid
Patients with pneumonia have increased energy requirements due to the high body temperature and accelerated metabolism associated with difficulty in breathing. These patients should be encouraged to increase their intake of foods rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Patients with pneumonia must maintain an adequate calorie intake to prevent deterioration of nutritional status and prevent malnutrition.
The patient’s body needs more nutrients after treatment for pneumonia is started to repair damaged tissue. There is a significant risk of prolonged recovery time if the patient is malnourished. An adequate diet rich in calories, protein and micronutrients is strongly recommended.
Foods rich in vitamin A should be recommended for patients with pneumonia as they help maintain the integrity of the respiratory lining. Patients should focus on beta-carotene foods that are usually yellow or orange in their natural color, such as carrots, apricots, and papaya. Plus, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are great.
Foods containing starches and saccharin should be avoided.
Fluid loss in pneumonia caused by diarrhea and / or sweating is associated with an increased need for fluid. Therefore, these patients must have an adequate supply of fluids. This can be in the form of soups, juice or infused water.
As long as the fever persists in patients, fluids should be given to the patient with plenty. The solids, if given, should be very nutritious and easily digestible. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are highly recommended for patients with pneumonia.
Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or healthcare professional if you have specific questions about a medical problem.