Pneumonia: What to eat and avoid when you have this serious lung condition

Pneumonia: What to eat and avoid when you have this serious lung condition
Pneumonia: What to eat and what to avoid to combat this serious condition

Pneumonia is a serious lung infection that may be caused by bacteria, a virus or fungi. Here's what to eat and avoid when you have this common lung condition.

Written by Satata Karmakar |Updated : January 13, 2021 8:57 AM IST

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The infection causes inflammation of the air sacs in your lungs, commonly known as alveoli. Fluid or pus in the alveoli can cause difficulty in breathing as well as fever, cough, and chills.

Pneumonia occurs commonly in infants and older people who are above 65 years as they have a weak immune system. It is a life-threatening condition and therefore you must immediately see a doctor if you experience its symptoms which include chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, fever, and chills, nausea, and vomiting.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia?

Some of the most common symptoms of pneumonia are:

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#Muscle pain

#Nausea and vomiting

#Increased respiratory rate

#Shortness of breath

Food Intake - What Food To Eat In Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is also a serious complication of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. Some people with COVID-19 pneumonia may go on to develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which can make it hard to breathe. In such cases, the patients may need mechanical ventilation to help them breathe.

Remember no home remedies and foods can cure pneumonia. It needs treatment in a hospital with proper medications. However, including some nourishing foods in your diet may help speed up recovery after the initial critical phase. These include -

#Whole Grains

The carbohydrate content in whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats, barley provides energy to the body during this time.

#Protein- Rich Foods

A diet rich in protein is beneficial for people suffering from pneumonia. Foods like nuts, seeds, beans, white meat and cold water fishes like salmon and sardines have anti-inflammatory properties.

#Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables such as kale, lettuce, spinach are highly packed with nutrients that help in the healing of this respiratory infection. They contain antioxidants that protect the body against infectious agents.

#Citrus Fruits

Vitamin C-rich fruits like oranges, berries, kiwi can help boost your immune system and thus improve recovery. The antioxidants in them can protect your body against pathogens that cause infections.

#Honey For Treating Pneumonia

Honey is famous for its healing properties. It has anti-bacterial properties that help in aiding cough and cold which are the symptoms of pneumonia.


Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce chest pain which is one of the preliminary symptoms of pneumonia. Turmeric acts as a mucolytic, which means it helps in removing the mucus and catarrh from the bronchial ducts which leads to easy breathing.

#Ginger For Pneumonia

Ginger is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It helps in reducing chest pain which is a symptom of pneumonia infection.

Food Intake - What Not To Eat In Pneumonia?

For people with pneumonia also known as chronic lung diseases, certain foods can trigger symptom flare-ups, so before reaching for whatever looks tasty, you might want to avoid these foods with lung disease.

#Excessive Salt

While a small pinch of salt cooked in a dish may be fine, a salt-heavy diet can be a problem. Salt can make people retain water, and excess water can cause breathing problems. Instead of using salt or a salt substitute, try herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of food.

#Frozen Foods Or Cold Cuts

Cold cuts are always dangerous for your health. Most cured meats such as bacon, cold cuts, ham, and hotdogs contain additives called nitrates. Avoid frozen or cold cuts when you are suffering from pneumonia.

#Dairy Products

Avoid dairy products when you are suffering from pneumonia as this can worsen symptoms. While milk is nutritious and filled with calcium, it contains casomorphin, a "breakdown product of milk," which has been known to increase mucus in the intestines.

#Say No To Fried Foods

Excessive fried food over time can cause weight gain, which increases pressure on the lungs. Wondering how? Well, fried foods cause can cause bloating and discomfort by pushing on the diaphragm, making it difficult and uncomfortable to breathe.

Everyone likes eating well, but with a chronic condition such as lung disease, it's more important to eat healthily. Ask your doctor before you change your diet. And not just eating healthy, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and regular exercises can also help you fight pneumonia.