6 Foods To Avoid For Pulmonary Fibrosis

While some foods ease the symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis, others exacerbate them. It is important to know which foods to avoid for pulmonary fibrosis, as a right diet goes a long way in managing the condition.

6 Foods To Avoid For Pulmonary Fibrosis

6 Foods To Avoid For Pulmonary Fibrosis

When suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, eating and digesting can sometimes be a herculean task. As the stomach gets full, it tends to push up against the diaphragm, thereby making breathing difficult. Activities like chewing and swallowing temporarily block the delivery of air to the lungs, making the sufferer feel out of breath. Further, a lot of oxygen is used up in digestion as well, leaving one breathless. Incorrect food decisions can leave people with pulmonary fibrosis gasping for breath midway through their meal. Hence, knowing about the foods to avoid for pulmonary fibrosis can help in every way.

Those battling pulmonary fibrosis, often experience low energy and loss of appetite. Not eating properly can cause further fatigue and low energy levels. A large number of people with severe pulmonary fibrosis or other lung diseases, also experience unintended weight loss as their symptoms discourage them from eating. There are certain foods to avoid with pulmonary fibrosis as they can increase breathlessness and make digestion even more difficult for pulmonary fibrosis sufferers.

Here are some such foods to avoid for pulmonary fibrosis

#1. Cured Meats And Cold Cuts

Additives called nitrates are present in most types of cold cut meats like ham, salami, bacon, hot dogs, etc. Nitrates help to maintain the product’s color and increase its shelf life. However, these nitrates can damage the tissue in the lungs and hence one of the commonest foods to avoid for pulmonary fibrosis. If a person suffering from pulmonary fibrosis ingests nitrates, their condition can get aggravated, and require immediate medical treatment. Hence, these meats should be avoided by pulmonary fibrosis sufferers.

#2. Cruciferous Vegetables

Consuming cruciferous vegetables can cause more gastric troubles in people with pulmonary fibrosis, and cause abdominal pressure, which can make breathing, difficult.

These people need to use the trial and error method to find out which vegetables to eat, since different individuals react differently to cruciferous vegetables. However, in most cases the foods to avoid for pulmonary fibrosis include cauliflower, broccoli, radish, Bok Choy, and Brussel sprouts.

#3. Dairy Products

Excess accumulation of mucus in the lungs often leads to a flare up of symptoms in pulmonary fibrosis patients. Milk results in thickening of the mucus and causes an increase in the severity of the exacerbation. People with healthy lungs tend to cough up this thickened mucus and discard it from their body. But this is not the case with people suffering from pulmonary fibrosis or other lung diseases as their lung function is limited and their cough response is too weak to properly dispel the thickened mucus. In such cases, dairy products like butter, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and milk must be considered as foods to avoid with pulmonary fibrosis.

#4. Salty Foods

Consuming a little salt from time to time is fine, but a person with pulmonary fibrosis should not have a salty diet. This is because salt can cause excess fluid retention in the body, make the individual feel bloated, and put unnecessary stress on their heart. Hence, it is best avoided for people with pulmonary fibrosis. One should rather try substituting salt with other herbs and spices like oregano, peppermint, turmeric, etc., to make their food more flavorsome.

#5. Fried Foods

Fried foods can lead to throat irritation, thus triggering cough and also cause bloating and gastric disturbance. This can in turn make it difficult to breathe. Eating excess fried food also triggers weight gain. Weight gain together with pulmonary fibrosis puts extra pressure on the diaphragm, making it harder for the individual to breathe. So, foods to avoid for pulmonary fibrosis also include fried foods like fried fish, French fries, onion rings, fried chicken, and other deep fried foods to keep their lungs healthy.

#6. Carbonated Beverages

Drinking carbonated beverages also leads to gas and bloating. Sugary carbonated beverages like soda, beer, sparkling wine, sparkling cider, and sparkling water, also dehydrate the body, causing the individual to drink more, which in turn increases bloating and gas and adds abdominal pressure. Such drinks are surely one of the foods to avoid for pulmonary fibrosis. Although, carbonated beverages may be difficult to give up, it is advisable that people with pulmonary fibrosis reach out for a glass of water or juice to quench their thirst rather than having carbonated drinks.


These were some of the foods to avoid with pulmonary fibrosis. Since every individual’s body is unique and responds differently to these foods, some of the above mentioned foods may not bother pulmonary fibrosis patients, and they can still eat them. All the restrictions and changes to lifelong eating habits can be overwhelming for people with pulmonary fibrosis, but it is normal to feel this way and getting accustomed to these changes can take time. With stronger determination and a will to eat healthier, patients can control their condition better and ultimately improve their quality of life. In cases, where eating is becoming a problem, the patient is advised to consult a doctor or respiratory therapist without any delay.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 8, 2019

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