Almost 40,000 people in the US have cystic fibrosis (CF). Although there’s no cure for cystic fibrosis, there are many treatment options. CF is one of the common conditions that may require oxygen therapy, and medication and breathing treatments may also help.
Proper nutrition is also an important part of managing cystic fibrosis. If you or your child has recently received a diagnosis of CF and you’re trying to adjust to the proper nutrition, we can help. Keep reading to learn about the best foods for people with cystic fibrosis to eat.
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People with CF lose more salt in their sweat than other people do, so it’s important to replace that salt when you eat. Adding salt to flavor your food is a great way to start, especially with meat and vegetables, but you can also prioritize healthy, salty snacks.
Salted nuts are a great way to get more protein into your diet, along with extra salt. Potato chips are famous for their salt, but make sure you balance them with other snacks, as they’re also high in fat. Many hard cheese options contain a good amount of salt, so cheese and crackers are a great option as well.
High Iron Foods
Cystic fibrosis can also make people more vulnerable to infections. Luckily, iron can help the body fight infection since it helps your blood carry the oxygen it needs throughout your body. Choosing foods that are high in iron can help keep that iron in your body and protect you from infections.
Shellfish is a great source of iron, especially since it’s heme iron, which the human body absorbs easier than the non-heme iron found in plants. Legumes like beans and lentils are another great source of iron, as well as an alternative protein source for those who don’t consume meat.
Cystic fibrosis can affect your bones, so eating foods rich in calcium is a good way to fortify your body. The most popular sources of calcium are dairy foods, like cheese and yogurt.
Hard cheese has a higher calcium rate than soft cheese. While Greek yogurt has more protein than traditional yogurt, it has less calcium, so choose your cheeses and yogurts wisely. Many nuts and seeds, like almonds and chia seeds, are also high in calcium and make easy additions to snacks and meals.
The best foods for people with cystic fibrosis to eat are foods high in salt, iron, and calcium. While there are many other nutritional considerations you will need to make, salt, iron, and calcium are very important. Including these foods in snacks and meals can help you or your loved one with CF stay healthy.