Health-promoting diet

A varied diet supports the well-being of people with respiratory diseases.

This diet is recommended for people within the normal weight range (BMI 20–30 kg/m2) whose weight has remained the same and who do not suffer from the exacerbation of a respiratory disease or a respiratory infection. 

Healthy nutrition helps you cope with everyday life and maintains your functional capacity. By investing in your diet, you can improve your lung health and your ability to cope with flare-ups and respiratory infections. 

Getting enough protein is essential for maintaining respiratory muscle strength. Vitamins, minerals, and soft fats help maintain a healthy immune system. In brief, you need: 

  • enough energy
  • enough protein
  • soft fats
  • plenty of fibre
  • colourful vegetables, fruits, and berries.

A health-promoting diet for people with respiratory diseases:

  • Monitor your weight weekly. You will know that your energy intake and energy expenditure are in balance when your weight stays the same.
  • A regular meal schedule with 4–5 meals per day approximately every 3–4 hours suits most people. Some of these meals can be snacks.
  • Pay attention to the fat, sugar and salt content of foods. You can, for instance, choose products with the Heart Symbol, in which the quality of fat and the amount of salt are right.
  • Try to eat protein-rich foods as part of a balanced meal 3–4 times a day.
  • Use soft vegetable fats and cooking oil as visible fats. Choose fat-free and low-fat options from dairy and meat products. 
  • Try to eat fish 2–3 times a week. 
  • To get enough fibre, eat 4–5 slices of whole grain bread and 5 handfuls, or half a kilogramme of fresh or cooked vegetables, fruits, and berries daily.  

If you are 65 or older or spend a lot of time indoors in the summer, you need a vitamin D supplement of 10–20 microgrammes per day. People over 65 are recommended to take vitamin D supplements all year round.