The Direct Influence of Healthy Eating on the Body

The Direct Influence of Healthy Eating on the Body

Healthy eating is a popular topic on the Pulmonary Fibrosis News Forums. Members discuss their attempts to promote optimal pulmonary wellness by improving their eating habits. They also share what foods they avoid because of side effects and what foods help them feel better.

Someone once said, “Eat food as your medicine. Otherwise, you will have to eat medicine as your food.” However, I always wonder how this applies to people with a chronic illness, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). I am not suggesting that patients with IPF neglect their antifibrotic medications and focus solely on eating healthy. But it is important to ensure that the two are working in tandem to benefit you.

I recently attended a session of this year’s PFF Summit called “Health and Wellness with Pulmonary Fibrosis.” The session was facilitated by two physicians, a senior dietician, and a respiratory therapist who specializes in pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with IPF. I sat next to Noah Greenspan, who started the Pulmonary Wellness and Rehabilitation Center.

Needless to say, I was surrounded by brilliance.

Weight loss isn’t the only benefit of healthy eating. Real food and a balanced diet fuel, protect, and optimize bodily functions. Diets for rapid weight loss, including keto diets, vegan diets, and paleo or Atkins diets, emerge regularly. They may help people achieve their weight loss goals, but they often aren’t a sustainable way of eating.

Barbra Swanson, a senior dietician at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, had a simple message for us: It’s best to eat a balanced diet of protein, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. I tend to be a fairly healthy eater, and I am grateful that I enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. However, the session showed me how the food we consume affects our bodies, particularly our lungs.

According to Swanson, everything we eat produces carbon dioxide, energy, and water. Unsurprisingly, sugar produces the greatest amount of carbon dioxide, so patients with IPF must avoid frequent consumption of sugar. However, the natural sugars in various fruits do not affect the body the same way that processed sugar does. It is important to consume fruit as part of a balanced diet.

Swanson also spoke about the importance of foods that are high in bioflavonoids, which are beneficial to the lungs. Citrus bioflavonoids can be consumed orally or via supplement and are particularly helpful in boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, and working as an antioxidant. I had never heard of bioflavonoids before the summit and am trying to incorporate them into my diet.

Unfortunately, patients with IPF often struggle with excess mucus in the lungs, which can complicate or stifle the cough that accompanies IPF. I learned that even though dairy is part of the food pyramid, it isn’t necessary to consume. Dairy consumption is beneficial, but some patients with IPF might be unable to tolerate the increase in mucus.

I also attended a session on the lung transplant experience, facilitated by Doctor Timothy Whelan from the Medical University of South Carolina. He said the two most common comorbidities post-transplant are diabetes and hypertension. Both can be influenced by the food we consume, which emphasizes the importance of healthy eating habits, especially for people with a chronic illness such as IPF.

Understanding the impact of food consumption on our bodies, particularly our lungs, was beneficial. I hope this information is helpful to you as well.

***

Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

Thanks for stopping by my column! My name is Charlene Marshall and I was diagnosed officially with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) on April 7 2016 after 13 months of various tests, hospitalizations and misdiagnoses, such as bronchitis and asthma. Due to my age, the specialist disclosed that he was unsure how the IPF would manifest itself in terms of progression, and whether it would be fast or slow and what the course of my illness might look like. Not much has changed since then, meaning there is still a lot that remains unknown, which is largely due to my age and how “rare” it is for someone under 30 to receive a diagnosis of IPF. That being said, a lot has changed for me in the time since diagnosis and I am looking forward to sharing some of those changes with you through this online platform, and I invite you along for the ride! Throughout this column I intend to chronicle the experience of living with an invisible, yet fatal disease as a young adult and share some stories about how IPF has impacted every aspect of my life, both good and bad, thus far. I plan on highlighting the challenges (and where I can, the positives…) that come with living with IPF and the impact on social and intimate relationships, finances, family dynamics, facing mortality, infertility, travelling, medication side effects, career goals and so much more as it arises for me as a “new” patient. I hope others’ with similar experiences will reach out as no story trumps any other, nor should any go unheard. For now, let me leave you with some personal details about who I am, outside of my IPF diagnosis. I grew up in a small town in south-western Ontario and still live within Ontario, although in a much bigger city. My favorite sport is/was underwater hockey (yes, it is a thing: look it up on YouTube), I love working with people, I work full-time in the Social Work/Social Services field, I am an avid learner filled with heaps of curiosity for the world, which lead me to start my Masters Degree in 2014. I am in the last few months of my Masters Degree and am looking forward to an upcoming trip to Australia more than I’ve looked forward to anything before. Welcome to the shambles and chaos that is my life!
×
Thanks for stopping by my column! My name is Charlene Marshall and I was diagnosed officially with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) on April 7 2016 after 13 months of various tests, hospitalizations and misdiagnoses, such as bronchitis and asthma. Due to my age, the specialist disclosed that he was unsure how the IPF would manifest itself in terms of progression, and whether it would be fast or slow and what the course of my illness might look like. Not much has changed since then, meaning there is still a lot that remains unknown, which is largely due to my age and how “rare” it is for someone under 30 to receive a diagnosis of IPF. That being said, a lot has changed for me in the time since diagnosis and I am looking forward to sharing some of those changes with you through this online platform, and I invite you along for the ride! Throughout this column I intend to chronicle the experience of living with an invisible, yet fatal disease as a young adult and share some stories about how IPF has impacted every aspect of my life, both good and bad, thus far. I plan on highlighting the challenges (and where I can, the positives…) that come with living with IPF and the impact on social and intimate relationships, finances, family dynamics, facing mortality, infertility, travelling, medication side effects, career goals and so much more as it arises for me as a “new” patient. I hope others’ with similar experiences will reach out as no story trumps any other, nor should any go unheard. For now, let me leave you with some personal details about who I am, outside of my IPF diagnosis. I grew up in a small town in south-western Ontario and still live within Ontario, although in a much bigger city. My favorite sport is/was underwater hockey (yes, it is a thing: look it up on YouTube), I love working with people, I work full-time in the Social Work/Social Services field, I am an avid learner filled with heaps of curiosity for the world, which lead me to start my Masters Degree in 2014. I am in the last few months of my Masters Degree and am looking forward to an upcoming trip to Australia more than I’ve looked forward to anything before. Welcome to the shambles and chaos that is my life!

4 comments

  1. I have tried to get travel insurance
    But I have been refused twice.
    Presently I am not on any oxygen supplement.
    I have gerd and a slight cough off and on but not to any great degree.

    Does anybody know a travel insurance company that will insure me for travel?

    Also I live in Burlington and would like to try cold laser treatments. Do you know of any doctors in my area that do this treatment? It seems chiropractors are the doctors that administer this treatment

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Patricia,

      Thanks for reading my columns and reaching out via the comments. Sorry to hear of your struggles with travel insurance! I know this is a difficult topic for many of our forum members as well. Are you still employed? If so, your employer should hopefully offer travel insurance as part of your benefits. This is how I am covered as I bought into this before I was diagnosed, which I realize is very lucky. There has been some discussion about travel insurance on the PF Forums which you can check out if you’re interested, along with laser therapy options:https://pulmonaryfibrosisnews.com/forums/activity/ … I think Dr.Andy Hall (chiropractor who started informing us about laser) generated a list of service providers who do this in Toronto. I can get you his contract if interested. Let me know!

      Charlene.

  2. Chrisite says:

    On point, as always Charlene. My mom and I were just talking about diet this morning! Eating right helps your overall health but I’m glad to hear that they had a session at the conference which was geared more toward eating right for pulmonary wellness. I never knew that CO2 from food was a factor, but it totally makes sense. I notice feeling more fatigued and having a longer recovery period when I exercise if I’ve been eating a bunch of sugar. So interesting!
    Also, the rating system for our posts is definitely not working. I gave you 5 stars for this but it changed it to two >:(
    CP

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Christie,

      So nice to hear from you as always – thanks for your kind words! Yes the session I attended at the Summit about the physiological impact on food in our bodies was fascinating, I really learned a lot. It is interesting that all foods produce C02, some more than other of course, isn’t it? And then tracking it back to how we feel makes so much sense. 🙂

      As for the rating system – yes I’ve had a lot of people notice this. I’m going to bring it back to Joe to see if it is a glitch, we want to ensure those accurate ratings are captured 🙂
      Thanks,
      Charlene.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *