COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases. It is popularly called the smoker’s lung, which often shows the typical “smoker’s cough”, with shortness of breath and expectoration. Although the majority of smokers are affected, the number of non-smokers affected has steadily increased for years. Proper nutrition can not only prevent COPD. It can also influence the course of the disease very positively in the presence of an existing illness and make life worth living again. You can finally breathe easier, the mucus dissolves and the coughing subsides.

The diet determines the course of the disease in COPD

A wrong diet is also increasingly mentioned in scientific circles as a contributory cause of chronic diseases. Because the type of diet determines significantly whether an existing chronic disease progresses and is getting worse or whether it can improve again.

This applies to a variety of ailments, whether it is depression, arthritis, psoriasis, high blood pressure, breast cancer, polyneuropathy, multiple sclerosis, psychosis or whatever.

First studies have long been published, which prove the importance of nutrition in COPD and asthma. The very fact that obesity is a significant risk factor for lung disease and overweight is usually the result of an unhealthy diet, shows that it is high time to change the diet, which usually automatically leads to a normalization of weight.

Even some pulmonary specialists now advise a change in diet, so that it has long been appropriate reports on this experience:

Experience: Basic nutrition improves COPD

“My pulmonologist recommended a basic diet. I was skeptical at first. But if I consistently implement this diet, I can breathe easier, cough less and have significantly less mucus in my throat. I eat vegetables and low-acid fruits. I add a pinch of soda (sodium bicarbonate) to my drinking water and eat six small meals instead of the usual three large meals.

Some fish and poultry are allowed. Coffee, carbonated drinks, red meat, chocolate and fried are taboo. At first, I was worried that I would lose weight, but I did not lose much weight and regained it in terms of muscle mass thanks to my sports program. My new diet has another advantage. I no longer need acid blockers for the stomach. However, as soon as I sin, I notice it immediately, I feel worse and I return with pleasure to my basic diet. ”

Of course, there are always feedbacks like this: “I had to quit smoking. If I can not eat all that, what I like, I have no more joy in life. “Here is a decision to make: to feel good and to enjoy the enjoyment of healthy food or sitting in the old mess stay and cough the soul out.

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COPD risk decreases by one third with proper nutrition

We have already reported on a study published in February 2015 in the British Medical Journal. A full-bodied vegetable-rich diet had reduced COPD risk by a third in this study!

COPD is the acronym of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (English: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). It is a group of different respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema.

COPD-related diseases are characterized by systemic (whole-body) inflammation, respiratory tract inflammation, pulmonary function disorders, and shorter life expectancy. Main symptoms are cough, bronchitis, sputum, and respiratory distress.

In 2015, 30,000 people died of COPD in Germany alone. By comparison, lung cancer had 45,000 in the same year. However, lung health can be very well influenced by the diet.

In COPD, a change in diet is an important part of the therapy!

In the journal Nutrients, a review of the Center for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases of the University of Newcastle, Australia, was published in March 2015. The study focused on the influence of diet on lung health and especially on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The participating researchers wrote that although medical care in this area is progressing more and more, a change in diet should always be carried out as an adjunct. For example, the Mediterranean diet offers itself as it has a protective effect against respiratory diseases in epidemiological studies.

Mediterranean diet instead of typical western diet

In the Mediterranean diet, you eat the most natural foods possible, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, accompanied by occasional fish meals. Dairy products, meat, and poultry are rare. The source of fat is olive oil, which automatically reduces the consumption of unhealthy fats.

By contrast, the typical Western diet (white flour, meat, dairy, sweets, fries, salty snacks, and sweet desserts) increases the risk of becoming a victim of respiratory disease (asthma, COPD, etc.), and children who like to eat fast foods are more likely to develop asthma , That’s no surprise, as even a single high-fat fast-food meal increases the inflammation of the respiratory tract.

Fruits and vegetables

Many years ago, a study was published in which smokers were given beta-carotene – for the prevention of lung cancer. But then they did not get sick less often, but even more often with lung cancer. Once this unpleasant side effect was noticed, the study was stopped immediately and smokers were advised to stop taking beta-carotene. Meanwhile, however, it has come to the point where some people believe that dietary beta carotene (such as carrots) is harmful and can cause lung cancer. We explain how it behaves.

What is beta-carotene?

Beta carotene is a phytochemical in the carotenoid family. Carotenoids, in turn, are fat-soluble plant substances with yellow to red coloring. A diet rich in carotenoids is therefore used when the diet contains a high proportion of yellow and orange or even red vegetables.

Beta-carotene is the best known carotenoid. Hardly any other food is as rich as it is in carrots and kale. Although green cabbage is green and not yellow or orange, the green of chlorophyll covers the orange tones of beta-carotene.

Which carotenoids are there?

Other carotenoids are, for example

  • the alpha-carotene (eg in pumpkin and carrots),
  • Lycopene (especially in tomatoes),
  • the beta-cryptoxanthin (eg in pumpkin and red pepper),
  • lutein (eg in savoy cabbage, parsley, and kale),
  • Astaxanthin (produced by algae) and
  • the zeaxanthin (eg in red pepper).

All of them are considered to be powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals and oxidative stress and can thus prevent many diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, rheumatic diseases, eye diseases, as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and cancer.

Does beta carotene protect against lung cancer?

As late as the 1980s, beta carotene was considered very healthy by all people – whether they were smokers or not. In 1986, even a study on this topic appeared (1,266 participants). They found that smokers who did not eat carrots had a three-fold higher risk of lung cancer than smokers who ate carrots at least once a week. A significantly increased risk of lung cancer also existed for those who only liked little green leafy vegetables. Liver and cheese (vitamin A) did not appear to have a protective effect because those who did not have either had no increased risk of ever developing lung cancer.

Another study (1,663 participants) in the same year showed similar, namely that a carotenoid-rich diet, in particular, smokers protected against lung cancer.

But who wants to bother with all the vegetables? So at least the thought of many smokers, who on the whole rather seldom eat health-conscious. However, since lung cancer is a desirable target for her and smoking cessation is rarely up for debate, the obvious solution was: why not simply take a beta-carotene pill every day? Because it was known that a high level of beta-carotene in the blood reduced the risk of lung cancer. So you could safely take the beta carotene in pill form.

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Beta-carotene in pill form increases the risk of lung cancer

In 1996, a study on beta-carotene pills, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, was quickly launched. More than 29,000 men between the ages of 50 and 69 who smoked more than 5 cigarettes a day took 50 mg of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol ), 20 mg beta carotene, or both, or a placebo supplement for an average of 6 years.

Regarding vitamin E, there was no effect on lung cancer risk. Beta-carotene, however, appeared to increase lung cancer risk (but only slightly), especially in heavy smokers (more than 20 cigarettes per day) compared to smokers who smoked less. Even in men who also indulged in higher alcohol consumption, was due to the beta carotene intake an increased risk of lung cancer.

Study stop because of frequent lung cancer cases

Similar results were obtained by the so-called CARET study, which was published in the same year. Here, over 18,000 participants were given 30 mg beta-carotene daily and 25,000 IU vitamin A or placebo. The study had to be stopped after just 21 months, as the beta carotene group had 28 percent more lung cancers and 17 percent more deaths. The participants of the study were smokers, former smokers or asbestos workers, ie all those with a high risk of lung cancer.

At the same time, there were also studies that did not show any disadvantages after taking beta-carotene, such as the study that also appeared in 1996 (in the New England Journal of Medicine) and found that:

Beta-carotene in pill form does not always harm

More than 22,000 healthy men between the ages of 40 and 84 took 50 mg beta-carotene or placebo every other day for 12 years. These included smokers as well as former smokers and non-smokers. At the end of the 12 years, however, no significant differences in cancer risk, cardiovascular or mortality risk could be identified. In the beta-nicotine group, even fewer men had lung cancer than the placebo group (82 versus 88), which was not statistically significant.

Three years later (1999), a study of nearly 40,000 healthy women – whether smokers or non-smokers – found that dietary supplementation with 50 mg beta-carotene every other day for an average of 2.1 years does not affect the risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease even the mortality had.

Problematic: The

Respiratory Diseases As the days get shorter again and autumn and winter bring down cold, wind and rain, our immune system is under heavy strain. Added to this is dry heating air, which irritates and dehydrates our mucous membranes.

In the winter, many people bustle together in warm, closed rooms, buses, and subways, which increases the risk of infection.

So bacteria and viruses are particularly easy to penetrate our body. When many people gather in warm, closed rooms, buses and subways in winter, the risk of infection is also increased: winter time is therefore also the time of acute respiratory infections. The spectrum ranges from a simple cold over the real flu to acute bronchitis or adult pneumonia.

The most harmless form of respiratory infections is a cold. Incidentally, it is sometimes referred to as a flu infection. Compared to the real flu but it runs harmless. Predominantly, a cold is triggered by viruses that affect the upper respiratory tract. Therefore, treatment with bactericidal antibiotics does not help here either. Usually, the disease begins two to four days after infection by droplet infection and usually lasts at most one week.

Typical signs of real influenza, influenza, are sudden high fever, dry cough, muscle and headache, and fatigue. The flu outbreaks that pass through Germany every winter are caused by influenza viruses. A vaccine can protect against infection. However, you should get vaccinated again every year against the flu, because the viruses are very versatile and the vaccine must be adjusted regularly. The Robert Koch Institute recommends vaccinations especially for pregnant women, elderly people and people with chronic illnesses.

If the pathogen penetrates deeper into the respiratory tract, as a result of a cold or flu, the mucous membranes of the bronchi can also become acutely inflamed. One speaks then of acute bronchitis. In more than 90 percent of cases, viruses are the trigger, rarely bacteria. Since acute bronchitis can also become chronic, it is important to treat this condition properly and adequately.

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One of the most serious respiratory infections is pneumonia. The most common causes of the disease are bacteria of the species Streptococcus pneumoniae. But other bacteria, viruses or fungi can lead to inflammation of the lung tissue. The treachery of pneumococcal pneumonia is that it can often lead to very severe symptoms without warning. It is also possible to get vaccinated against pneumococci, as in the case of influenza, people from risk groups are recommended to have a vaccine.

In recent years, the number of whooping cough cases increased again. This is mainly due to the fact that the vaccine against this highly infectious disease gradually decreases and adults would have to refresh him. Pertussis, like a whooping cough in technical language, is called, is a bacterial infection. The disease can be very tedious and life-threatening especially for small children. It begins as a harmless cold with a cold and cough, but changes in the course of the typical bouts of attacks of coughing that occur especially at night.

The bacterial infectious disease that still causes most deaths worldwide is tuberculosis. In 2014, about 9.6 million people worldwide fell ill. In Germany, the rate of newly diagnosed tuberculosis infections is comparatively low, but in 2015 the Robert Koch Institute observed an increase to 5,865 cases compared to 4,533 cases in the previous year. Above all, people whose immune system is weakened are at risk. Contagion occurs through close contact with patients, usually by droplet infection via the lungs. In most cases, the body succeeds in successfully controlling the bacteria or isolating them. These inflammatory sites (tubercles), which are enclosed by the immune system, can be visualized on the x-ray and also give their name to the disease. An infection can now be treated well with a combination of antibiotics, however, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis pathogens have been a growing problem in recent years.

Inflammation in the lungs naturally also plays a central role in chronic lung diseases such as asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).