Cystic Fibrosis Diet: How to Get Enough Nutrients for Good Health

Healthy fruits and vegetables

Story at-a-glance -

  • People who are living with this condition actually have a higher calorie requirement than healthy individuals
  • A person with cystic fibrosis must consume a well-balanced diet that includes healthy fats, raw dairy, high-quality protein and fruits and vegetables to make up for the lost nutrients. Here are the best sources of these nutrients

It’s challenge to live with cystic fibrosis because there are a lot of considerations you need to remember to maintain your quality of life. One crucial factor is to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients.

People who are living with this condition actually have a higher calorie requirement than healthy individuals. This is because they cannot use 100 percent of the energy they eat, as the enzymes in their body cannot properly break down their food or ensure proper nutrient absorption. Getting extra calories is essential in fighting infections and expelling mucus through coughing. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, which is also essential to staving off infections and keeping the body strong.1

Diet Recommendations for Cystic Fibrosis Patients

Cystic fibrosis can cause exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) in some people. This is when further problems with digestion arise due to excessive amounts of mucus in the pancreas. The high amounts of mucus prevent the pancreatic enzymes from reaching the intestines, which is needed for the normal digestive process. Since the enzymes are not in the right place, the nutrients from food are not absorbed at all.2

Thus, a person with cystic fibrosis must consume a well-balanced diet that includes healthy fats, raw dairy, high-quality protein and fruits and vegetables to make up for the lost nutrients. Here are the best sources of these nutrients:3

Protein: Grass fed beef and chicken, pastured eggs and wild Alaskan salmon (These can help prevent muscle loss)

Zinc: Kidney beans, grass fed beef, spinach, liver and pastured eggs (These are crucial for staving off infections)

Calcium: Raw dairy products, such as raw milk, high-fat homemade yogurt and cheese

Iron: Liver, lamb, seafood, eggs, grass fed beef and turkey (This mineral helps fight off infection and is essential in producing oxygen-carrying red blood cells)

Sodium: Pickles, bone broth or chicken broth (People with CF expel more salt in their sweat, which may lead to electrolyte imbalance and dehydration)

Antioxidants: Fruits and vegetables (Antioxidants necessary for fighting off bacterial infections)

Fiber: Flax, hemp and chia seeds, berries, vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts), beans, green beans, tubers and peas (Fiber can reduce the risk of intestinal blockages)

In addition, your physician may recommend taking fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, E, D-3 and K, which are all essential for growth and healing. These vitamins are necessary for fat absorption. Taking supplements that contain B vitamins and other nutrients may be recommended as well.4

Remember These Tips to Make Sure You’re Eating Right

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation also offers several useful tips to ensure that cystic fibrosis patients are stocking their bodies with sufficient food throughout the day:5

Consider “packability.” Plan meals or snacks that you can bring outside and carry in your backpack, purse or briefcase.

Make sure you have a variety of foods at hand so you will not get tired of eating the same foods every day.

Cook in bulk. Make enough today for tomorrow’s lunch. You can freeze your food and just reheat it over the stove once you’re ready to eat.

Organize your kitchen so you have everything you need to pack portable meals. Stock up on things like food containers, paper bags and napkins.

Plan your menu for the week. Make a shopping list before you head out, so you’re sure to have what you need on hand.

MORE ABOUT CYSTIC FIBROSIS

Cystic Fibrosis: Introduction

What Is Cystic Fibrosis?

Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms

Cystic Fibrosis Causes

Cystic Fibrosis Treatment

Cystic Fibrosis Prevention

Cystic Fibrosis Diet

Cystic Fibrosis FAQ


< Previous

Cystic Fibrosis Prevention

Next >

Cystic Fibrosis FAQ

Post your comment
Click Here and be the first to comment on this article