British Lung Foundation


When i was first diagnosed with COPD in March this year, i did a lot of research on Google...scared me to hell. But i kept reading about nutrition and exercise and did write a list of things i could/should not eat, Salt being the number 1. Which was very difficult to give up as i live in the land of the stir fry's (Thailand) can't even have soy or fish sauce, not supposed to eat fried food anyway. No bacon, ham or hot dog because of the potassium. No white rice or bread. No peas, corn, sprouts (causes flatulence) and the list goes on, even excluding caffeine. I did buy a jar of decaffeinated coffee and after 2 cups decided that was a waste of time so i still have a cappuccino in the morning and sometimes a cup of tea in the afternoon. Noticed someone the other day saying they were off to make a cup of tea, so it made me wonder, how many of you are on a diet, how many can't be bothered? What has your doctors/nurses advised? No advice out here, can't even have a copy of my spirometry test.


17 Replies

Good Morning! My husband has severe copd and has had it for over 12 years. I have like you googled and googled and then realised I was just scaring myself! He has never been offered advise regarding his diet and because he is quite thin I worry that he will loose weight. He is dreadful - doesnt like many veg. etc. so I supplement his diet to try to compensate! I have just invested in the nutribullet though I have my doubts that he will like any of the concoctions! He does have a treadmill and tries to walk on that regularly - to be honest I truly believe that exercise is key and anything is better than nothing. I have come to the conclusion I could drive myself insane (or more insane) and just do my best for him! Hope you are keeping well, lots of love TAD xx


Hi Tad

I eat lots of fruit and veg starting with a fruit smoothie in the morning, green juicy after lunch, carrots and orange juicy in the afternoon and then usually a salad for dinner. But just every so often want to eat bacon and egg, steak and chips. I am surprised that BLF are not saying anything about what foods you can or cannot eat as the American counterpart is very strict.


Hi Merv you should be able to have a copy of your spirometry test, I get mine. Just ask for it and if they say no demand it.

As far as diets go I think the general advice of eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and cutting back on cakes, biscuits and fried food is sufficient for most of us and something everyone should strive to do anyway. The common sense approach. x


Hi, i live in Thailand and they treat medical records as if they are gold. I tried to point out something in my file a while back as the nurse could not find a certain report and received a mouthful, as we are not even allowed to touch our medical files. Was told in no uncertain terms that this is Thailand and i had better learn to do things there way.

Not into cakes and biscuits unless i am visiting my mother once a year, but i do miss things like stir fried veg. Just wondering how bad salt and fried food is and i do miss an occasional fried breakfast.

I suppose i could indulge occasionally as i am still stage 1.


Hi I think a little bit of what you fancy does you good sometimes. Life is too short to deny ourselves everything we want. Go for it. x

1 like

"Hello and Good Morning to you Swerv.....I was given lots of advise regarding my diet. both from my own Dr..... and my pulmonary nurse....firstly because i was so thin and underweight i was told to eat all the foods i had been told Not to full fat milk....rice puddings ...cheese...chips..... o less than two eggs a day.....anything i could eat then to eat it...and to add powdered milk to everything....i even drank a high whey protein powder and added it to everything and i drank 4 times a day a high protein milk shake i made myself...needless to say i have had to cut back on a few things as i have put on over 3 stone..i now look a very healthy 9 stone....i am at stage 4 and my fev1 is 27%. but i just know when i have my next spirometer test there will be a massive improvement in my reading....wishing you the best....Megan."


Hi Megan

Don't know what to say. Been following this diet for about 2 months now, no real change in my overall weight, but getting bored with salads.

Don't know where to go from here.


I have to admit I eat what I've always eaten ! I must add though that my lovely lady adds extra " stuff " suggested by people on here which is good for the lungs and helping the immune system.

I'm afraid I eat what I enjoy.

I very rarely eat takeaways but love to indulge the odd donar kebab now and again with over the top amounts of chilli scauce !!


Hi Merv.....don't know all that much myself but I'm certain you are entitled to know the results of your spirometry tests. After years of smoking, I got a bad chest cold that wouldn't go away and wound up in the hospital and that's how I met my lung doc. I quit smoking with Chantix 7 years ago. My first test was 75%. He never used the terminology everybody but me seems to know...... the FEV1 test. So now I'm below 50%. And the next visit in July, I'm going to ask if my result he tells me is the FEV1 test. I looked it up and its Forced Expiratory Volume......the amount of air we can push out of the lungs quickly. When I first met him he did tell me I have COPD. He has said other stuff that made me hopeful.....and nothing hopeful has happened so I'm about ready to tell him I want some straight answers.


Hi Laura

I know the result of the test which was 75% but would not give me a copy of the print out...Thais are strange that way.

When i talk about diet i don't mean it as a way of losing weight, it is knowing what you can or cannot eat as certain foods react against your lungs and can speed the progress. Salt seems to be the big thing but difficult for me as i love Thai food. I don't use much salt in cooking but i do use soy sauce in stir fries and that is on the NO list.

I think it is just making sure that you get the right amount of vitamins and supplements each day.


Also Merv........I was never told about anything to do with diet. I'm not overweight so I don't know if diet can help?


Hi, if you eat a lot of salt that will make you drink more water and cause fluid retention, which will make things harder for your heart and raise your blood pressure, which in turn will make it harder for your lungs to work. So it does make sense to cut down on salt. The problem is the sodium in the salt. You could try reduced sodium soy sauce and salt substitutes to cut back on the amount of sodium in your diet.

As for caffeine, I slowly went over to drinking decaffeinated tea and now drink lots of herbal teas - I find the fruit teas promise far more in their aroma than they deliver in their taste. Chocolate also contains caffeine, so be cautious about how much you eat of that (if any). Hope this helps.


Hi, it's very difficult because living in a tropical climate you need salt to replace fluids you lose each day coz of the heat. I have noticed that i am getting a lot more cramps in my hands and feet since i stopped taking salt. Will talk to my specialist next month, who so far has not told me to do anything except give up smoking, which i did 2 months ago now.


Yes, if you are losing salt in sweating it's important to replace that with enough to avoid cramping. That's probably why the local cuisine includes so much soy sauce in the recipes. Let's hope the consultant is able to give you more advice next time, and speeds up your referral to a local dietitian. All the best, M.


I have been told many times to lose weight and I am but at a very slow rate. I have been promised help with a dietitian but so far after 3 years still no info. I do not eat 25% of what I used to some years back but I did burn it off. Now I am exercise intolerant it can only be diet that will help. Certain foods for me are triggers for some of my conditions so that is another barrier I have to get over but without some professional help I cannot see it happening.

Be Well


I eat a lot of fruit in the morning and afternoon plus a green juicy at lunchtime and i probably have a salad at least 3 times a week...all helps to keep the weight down.

It depends if you are allergic to some things which could cause the triggers.


Along with the lung problemsI have chronic Gout with heart conditions and I am on Warfarin and so many foods can affect the warfarin it does become a constant battle to see what I can eat?


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