Accoring to the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), more than 25 million people suffer from asthma, while 14.8 million adults have been diagnosed with COPD in America. Breathing problems, despite the underlying cause, can be triggered by a variety of factors, such as hot or cold temperatures, certain smells, and even foods. Some common foods that aggravate breathing problems are:
1. Acidic foods and drinks
In the esophagus, a ring of muscle that forms a valve controls stomach acid from washing up into the throat (GERD). If this valve fails to open frequently, acids may accumulate in the stomach and eventually move into the esophagus. GERD causes frequent heartburn, or acid reflux disease, which is dangerous for people with lung disease as it will increase their symptoms. This can be controlled by avoiding the consumption of acidic foods and drinks (i.e., citrus, coffee, and spicy foods).
2. Carbonated beverages
It is no surprise that carbonated drinks are on the list as one of the foods that aggravate breathing problems. Plus, many carbonated beverages are filled with sugar, leading to weight gain, particularly in the belly region. Carbonated drinks are also gas inducing due to the bubbles. If you have any breathing problems, quench your thirst with water versus a carbonated beverage such as soda, cider, or beer.
3. Dairy products
With people breathing issues due to COPD or allergies are often told to avoid dairy products by their doctors, as these may worsen their symptoms. Milk, while a rich source of calcium, contains casomorphin, a byproduct of milk breakdown that increases mucus levels in the intestines. People with lung disease will often experience an increase in mucus after eating or drinking milk products and experience a flare-up due to an overgeneration of mucus in the body. This explanation may not be clear, but scientists have proven this by stimulating the production of mucus in labs using casomorphins. Hence people with lung diseases should avoid dairy products to avoid complications.
4. Excessive salt
If you have lung problems, just a pinch of salt added to your food is often too much. A salt heavy diet will end up causing breathing problems due to excess water retention. If a patient with lung problems retains excess water, it will end up causing breathing problems. You can avoid salt and its substitute herbs and spices, like garlic or celery, to add some desired flavor to your food.