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A cystic fibrosis (CF) diet should contain optimal amounts of calories, vitamins and minerals to keep the body as healthy as possible. Cystic fibrosis is characterized by thick, sticky mucus that builds-up in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. The mucus clogs the tubes that carry air to and from the lungs leading to frequent respiratory infections, considerable lung damage and sometimes, respiratory failure. In the pancreas, the mucus blocks the release of pancreatic enzymes that break down the food you eat. This interferes with the absorption of fat and vital nutrients resulting in malnutrition and poor growth.
To compensate for decreased absorption of nutrients, people with cystic fibrosis need to consume a diet that is high in both calories and fat, with 40% of total calories coming from fat. If you, or someone you love, has CF and is struggling with nutritional imbalances, making sure you include the following 5 things in your cystic fibrosis diet will help keep your body as healthy as possible:
In addition to eating the right foods, people with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) due to CF need to supplement their diets with pancreatic enzymes every time they eat something that contains fat or protein. Protein sources include beef and beef products, milk and milk products, fish and seafood, chicken, pork, beans, eggs and nuts and soy products such as tofu, edamame and soymilk.
For more information about a cystic fibrosis diet, talk to your primary health care provider.
CF Nutrition Guide. Developed by CF Nutrition Specialist Suzanne Michel, MPH, RD, LDN. Last updated March, 2017.