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Eating healthy with IPF.

Good nutrition can help you stay healthier, breathe better and have more energy. Eating well can also help fight infections. Some people with IPF lose their appetite, so eating a balanced diet is even more important. The amount and types of food you eat every day will affect your overall health and well-being. Make healthy eating a part of your daily life with IPF. To help, here are some healthy eating tips:

  • Stay at a healthy weight. If you need to lose or gain weight, do so under the care of your doctor or dietitian
  • Eat a balanced diet
    • Include carbohydrates, protein and fat at every meal. A dietitian can suggest how much of each to eat
    • Eat at least five servings of fruits or vegetables every day
    • Be sure to eat foods with fiber
  • Break up your meals. For many people, eating large meals can make it harder to breathe until your food digests. So instead of eating three meals a day, try to eat six to eight smaller meals or snacks throughout the day
  • Always have snacks with you, like fruits, nuts, sandwiches and cheese
  • Try to have plenty of frozen foods, snacks and other non-perishables handy. That way, preparing a meal is easy and quick whenever you need it
  • Ask for help in preparing meals. Ask for foods that are already prepared and ready to eat
  • If it’s hard for you to get enough calories in, think about ways to add healthy calories to your food
    • Add peanut butter or other nut butters to a smoothie
    • Add avocado or hummus to your sandwiches, crackers, vegetables or salads
    • Drink liquids with more calories, like whole milk, protein shakes and smoothies; avoid liquids with mainly sugar calories, like sodas or sweetened teas. Add milk instead of water to things like soups and cereals.
    • Try not to drink anything for about 30 minutes before you eat so you won’t feel full at mealtime
    • Add foods like dried fruit, chopped nuts or seeds, honey, bacon bits, cheeses and dressings. These can be good snacks, too
    • Ask your doctor or dietitian before you take any supplements
  • If you have diarrhea, avoid spicy and sour food, and foods high in sugar and fat

It can be hard to exercise when you have trouble breathing and get tired easily. But, staying as active as you can helps you stay healthy. Exercise can help you feel better mentally and physically. It can help keep your muscles stronger and give you more energy.

For more tips on eating healthy, talk to your doctor or dietitian. You can also visit the IPF Foundation and Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation websites.

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