Cystic fibrosis affects the respiratory and digestive systems. Over time, thick mucus damages the pancreas. Since the pancreas creates enzymes to help you digest what you eat, the body has trouble breaking down food and absorbing fat-soluble nutrients. This makes it difficult to gain weight or maintain a healthy weight.
A healthy diet and taking enzyme capsules with every meal and snack are a big help, but many people with CF need to take vitamins and supplements to make up the difference. Working with your doctor and nutritionist will help you find the right balance.
Cystic Fibrosis Diet
Getting enough nutrition is key to living with CF. In general, people with CF need twice the protein and calories to stay at a healthy weight. A diet of calorie-rich foods that are high in fat and nutrients is important. Keeping your enzyme capsules and snacks on hand will also help you reach your calorie goals.
People with CF need to plan out their meals and snacks ahead of time. Make sure you have enough snacks to get you through the day. One way to stay ahead of the game is to prepare food the night or weekend before. IV Solutions has more tips for a healthy cystic fibrosis diet.
Foods with Vitamins and Enzymes
Taking supplements is often necessary, but you can’t beat getting nutrition naturally from food.
Here are some of the vitamins and enzymes to focus on with handy lists of foods where they can be found. Or you can click the graphic to the right to view our vitamins and enzymes infographic. There should be enough options for even the pickiest eater!
- Sweet potatoes
- Dark leafy greens
- Winter squash
- Dried apricots
- Bell peppers
- Fish like tuna and salmon
- Tropical fruit like mangos
- Fish oils
- Fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines
- Beef liver
- Cheese and other dairy products
- Egg yolks
- Raw seeds like pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- Swiss chard
- Turnip greens
- Plant oils
- Pine nuts
- Spring onions
- Brussel sprouts
- Chili powder
- Olive oil
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Raw fruits and vegetables
- Aloe vera
- Barley grass
- Raw garlic
- Ginger root
- Wheat germ
- Coconut (the fruit, not the oil)
- Bee pollen
- Raw honey
- Soy Sauce
Want to know more about CF medication options? Check out our Cystic Fibrosis Treatment page >>
The Importance of Vitamins and Minerals in CF. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Accessed May 18, 2015.
Vitamins. Cystic Fibrosis Medicine. April, 2008. Accessed May 18, 2015.
CF Care Guidelines – Nutrition/GI. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Accessed May 18, 2015.
Cystic Fibrosis and Dietary Needs According to Age. CFChef. Accessed May 18, 2015.
Staying Healthy. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Accessed May 18, 2015.
Boudro H. Enzymes in Food: High-Enzyme Foods. Getting Started With Healthy Eating. Accessed May 18, 2015.