Bronchitis is when the bronchial tubes that carry air to the lungs get infected or swollen. It can lead to coughing, throat ache, increased mucus production, and general cold-like symptoms like body aches or chills. Bronchitis is mostly caused by viruses that do not respond to treatment, so patients often have to wait to feel better. However, symptoms can be managed by eating right. So, here are six foods to avoid when affected by bronchitis:
Foods rich in sodium
Sodium causes water retention, leading to shortness of breath in people with lung diseases such as bronchitis. This includes the food’s natural sodium content, as well as any added salt (by itself or in condiments and dressings). To limit sodium intake, one should cut back on salty foods and seasonings. One should also check the labels before buying a food item to confirm that the product doesn’t contain more than 300 milligrams of salt per serving. One can choose herbs and spices instead of sauces to reduce salt and keep food flavorful.
When dairy products are broken down for digestion, an exorphin called casomorphin is released, which has been linked to the production of thicker mucus. This can cause irritation in people with bronchitis. It can also enhance symptoms like coughing, causing more wheezing or pain. Instead of dairy, one should opt for plant-based alternatives like soy, almond, or oat milk. If dairy is unavoidable, one should choose between low-fat or non-fat dairy options.
Cured meats and cold cuts contain high levels of sodium and nitrate. Nitrates are generally added for color and preservation. However, this nitrate content has been linked to complications of the lungs, such as chronic bronchitis or another chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is best to avoid deli meat as much as possible or look for variants that carry “no nitrates added” tag. Deli meats should be replaced with anti-inflammatory sources of protein such as fatty fish (like salmon, tuna, mackerel, or sardines).
Carbonated drinks contain carbon dioxide (that causes the carbonation), which can cause gas and bloating that can make it tougher for people with bronchitis to breathe. Additionally, most carbonated drinks also contain high levels of sugar, which can increase inflammation and multiply the symptoms of bronchitis. One should consider cutting down carbonated beverages such as soda and opting for other flavored beverages like tea, juice, or flavored water.
Fried foods are rich in unhealthy fats and can cause bloating and discomfort. Additionally, they lead to increased cholesterol levels over time, which can complicate or worsen symptoms for people with lung diseases like chronic bronchitis. When possible, skip fast-food joints and drive-throughs and opt for a healthy, nutritious meal.
Many desserts contain high-fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to the rising rates of chronic bronchitis amongst adults in the country. Desserts also contain refined carbohydrates, which have been associated with lifestyle diseases. People with the disease should avoid foods with high-fructose corn syrup, including bread, nut butter, pastries, and beverages. One should also check the nutrition label for ingredients before making a choice. Instead of desserts with processed sugars and refined carbohydrates, one can turn to fruits like berries, citrus, and apples to satisfy sugar cravings.
In addition to eating healthy, better lifestyle choices can protect one from chronic bronchitis and other infectious diseases. Getting daily exercise will help strengthen the muscles that the body uses for breathing. One should talk to a healthcare provider and devise a daily workout routine, which can be as simple as 15 minutes of walking a day. Breathing techniques, such as pursed-lip breathing, can also help slow down the fast breathing caused by bronchitis. The technique opens up the airways and makes it easier to clear mucus from the throat. One should avoid catching the flu or cold as much as possible, as these conditions can worsen bronchitis symptoms.