Boost Your Lifestyle
Overall good nutrition is important to keeping a body healthy. In addition to medication, oxygen therapy and systemic enzyme therapy, a healthy diet may help manage your symptoms and limit potential complications. Even though your food intake may not provide direct lung recovery, certain foods will address overall body health conditions which are essential to managing IPF symptoms.
For example, antioxidants protect our bodies and help us recover from infections and disease. Foods rich with essential fats and omega-3 fatty acids can help with weight maintenance, inflammation, and brain functionality. Carbohydrate-rich foods help maintain energy levels and keep blood sugar stable. Ensuring that the body is receiving sufficient vitamins and nutrients each days can help the lungs feel better potentially make breathing easier.
Here are some simple suggestions on how to begin maintaining a healthy diet to support IPF recovery by snacking well.
Keep a stash of nuts and seeds in a bowl by your desk to munch on throughout the day. Nuts and seeds have a lot of nutrients and calories that can help with the weight loss that often accompanies IPF patients.
Bring a bag of berries and bag of cut up fruits or veggies to work. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, and they make a nutritious snack option.
Keep around low-fat yogurt and kefir, which contain probiotics, or healthy bacteria that help promote digestive health and immune function.
Make your oatmeal, smoothies, or soups with milk instead of water. Dairy products provide protein, calcium and vitamin D.
Sleeping well is important to your overall health, and can benefit your heart, weight and mind. Studies have shown that adequate and balanced sleeping patterns can help you live longer, control inflammatory proteins in your blood, decrease the likelihood of high blood pressure, and allow your brain to focus better and longer. Getting adequate sleep can also help regulate your metabolism, boost your immune function, and improve your mood.
Staying active helps control both your breathing and your anxiety. You will want to check with your doctor first, but it is likely that he or she will be strongly in favor of your working out as long as your condition will tolerate it.
Physical exercise is a common part of a pulmonary rehabilitation process. Several studies pointed out the challenges of conducting exercise training with IPF patients given the severity of their symptoms.
However, a 2016 research paper on the effects of exercise on IPF found that it improved the cardiorespiratory fitness, decreased feelings of breathless, and improved the quality of life of the patients enrolled in this study.
Integrate Complementary Therapies
The CHEST Journal, published by the American College of Chest Physicians published a very helpful article describing various complementary therapies to manage lung cancer. Although IPF is not lung cancer, many of the therapies are useful for our purposes as they target the same or similar conditions. Some include:
To improve circulation and encourage relaxation
To improve heart and lung health, stamina, strength, flexibility, weight balance, disease prevention, and physical fitness.
To harmonize imbalances in the body
Diet and nutrition
As malnutrition promotes adverse outcomes
Including vitamins and enzymes to alleviate symptoms, improve the immune system, and reduce spreading
To reduce anxiety, pain, and depression, and enhance mood and self-esteem, decrease stress
Which combines exercise, breathing, and meditation
Music can help drop your body’s stress level, ease pain, and cheer you up.
Hypnosis, if effective for a person, can have powerful effects such as reducing stress, anxiety, pain and self-consciousness.
Much of the time, our biggest challenge is ourselves. The struggle of living with a chronic disease with no cure is probably the worst thing that can happen to anyone. It is normal to feel frustrated, scared, or down.
We are our own champions. With all of the challenges before us, the most important task we have is to stay positive. Be happy. We live our lives one breath at a time. It starts NOW!