Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that creates an imbalance in the amount of water and salt in the body. As a result, the body starts producing thick mucus, which blocks the lungs and airways and causes breathing problems and respiratory tract infections. The mucus also hinders the ability of the intestines to absorb fat and vitamins from food, which means patients could be underweight and need a special diet. Since they are also prone to infections, they need healthy food that can boost their immunity:
1. Minerals and nutrients for cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis weakens bones and increases the risk of osteoporosis, so calcium is important, and dairy and fortified juices are good sources, in addition to these essential nutrients:
- Fortified cereals, dates, dry fruits, dark green vegetables, and green peas are good sources of iron, which fights infections and helps the blood carry oxygen effectively.
- Protein-rich foods are important sources of energy to prevent constant weakness, so meat, eggs, soy, fish, and lentils should be part of the diet.
- People with this condition lose a lot of salt with their sweat, so they can eat salty snacks and add salt to their food. They can also consume salt-infused sports drinks.
- Zinc helps growth, and it is important as patients could be underweight. Meat, liver, seafood, and eggs are good sources that also help them recover from infection.
2. Foods to help manage cystic fibrosis
Again, instant sources of calories and calcium, dairy has to be an intrinsic part of the diet for patients of cystic fibrosis. Rich, full-fat dairy products, including Greek yogurt and cream cheese, are helpful additions to the diet, as well as these foods:
Vegetables are rich in minerals and antioxidants, which help boost immunity. They are the best sources of vitamins A and K, which are required for improving intestinal and blood-related issues. Vegetables like arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, mustard greens and spinach, carrots, and garlic are some of the most beneficial foods to help manage cystic fibrosis.
Rich in antioxidants and fiber, they help the body fight infection and improve metabolism. They also have vitamin C and anti-inflammatory properties, which help prevent respiratory infection. Some fruits best suited for patients of this condition are apricots, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupes, grapefruit, mangoes, oranges, peaches, and strawberries.
One of the most effective foods to help manage cystic fibrosis, eggs supply protein, vitamin B12, and other essential minerals to strengthen the muscles and nerves.
One of the richest sources of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, seafood helps improve bone strength. Shellfish are also a source of zinc, a vital mineral required for cystic fibrosis patients.
Nuts are high in calories, they supply the required protein and fiber, and they are stocked with vitamins and antioxidants. Peanuts, Brazil nuts, and almonds should be a regular part of the diet.
- Plant-based oils and fats
These supply the required energy for the body with healthy fats and calories, so plant-based oils, like olive oil, oil from nuts and seeds, and avocado oil should be included in the diet.