Cystic Fibrosis Diet Plan: A complete guide

Cystic Fibrosis Diet Plan: A complete guide

People with cystic fibrosis cannot get enough nutrition for the proper growth and development of the body. It happens due to poor absorption of nutrients and improper digestion. Moreover, an excess salt loss makes the condition more severe. Here we shall discuss the complete cystic fibrosis diet plan.

A balanced diet or healthy nutrition is essential for proper growth and development of the human body. If you are suffering from cystic fibrosis, you cannot be able to digest and absorb the ingested nutrients.

Due to indigestion, you lose your appetite for food. So, you usually require extra nourishment to meet the requirement for the proper functioning of the body. If you do not supply your body with enough proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, you can fight infection and diseases.

Our body manufactures a huge amount of immune cells such as T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, macrophages, immunoglobulins. All these immune cells are produced out of the nutrients we consume.

If we starve our body with the vital nutrients, our body will not be able to form these entire cells to fight invading micro-organisms. Our immune system will collapse and we may die out any severe infectious disease.


Cystic fibrosis diet and nutrition

The various essential nutrients and diet for cystic fibrosis have been discussed below. However, this is not the complete list.


Protein is the building block of life and essential for proper cell division. Moreover, we need protein to build our immunity, recover from illness.

You have to add more protein source to your cystic fibrosis diet.  Protein is composed of amino acids such as leucine, tryptophan, isoleucine etc.

There are 09 essential amino acids that we require from food. A single source of amino acid will not be able to provide you with all kinds of essential amino acids.


Protein source for vegetarian:

If you are a vegetarian, it is so difficult for you to prevent muscle loss and boost immunity. It is because; vegetarian source of protein lacks few essential amino acids. Still, you can consider adding milk and plant source of proteins such as:


Soy protein: Soy protein or tofu is isolated from soybean. It contains almost all the essential amino acids such as isoleucine, lysine, histidine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine etc.

However, it lacks methionine and deficient in tryptophan. Therefore, we cannot call it a complete source of protein. Still serving soy protein in every meal can cope up with the nutrient deficiency caused by cystic fibrosis.


Quinoa: Quinoa is a plant grown in the hilly area. Tribal people consume quinoa for strength and endurance.

It is a rich source of protein and contains almost all the essential amino acids. You can try adding this superfood to your diet to meet your daily requirements of protein and calorie.

This can be a great food for children and athletes with cystic fibrosis.


Nuts: You can add various nuts such as groundnut, cashew, hazelnut, pecan, pistachio, walnut, peanut or almond etc.

All these nuts are packed with protein and oils. The protein concentration of peanut is more than other nuts.

Therefore, you can spread peanut butter on the bread to prepare an awesome morning breakfast.


Milk: It is very essential to include milk and dairy product to the vegetarian diet chart. Milk is a rich source of protein and fat.

You can easily meet your calorie deficiency caused by cystic fibrosis by including enough dairy products to your diet. It is also packed with minerals, vitamin D and other nutrients.

So, include milk and dairy products such as cheese, butter, yoghurt, cream, buttermilk, pudding, ice-cream, cottage etc. to your diet chart.


Protein source for non-vegetarian

For people eating meat and animal protein, they don’t need to worry about their protein intake.

Still, cystic fibrosis can impair protein absorption and leads to its deficiency. Therefore, it is necessary for them to rely on various protein sources to meet their amino acid requirement.

There is food source such as eggs, chicken, beef, fish which can provide you with enough high-quality protein. They are ideal and rich protein source as they contain essential amino acids.

If you don’t want to eat a bulk of meat, purchase any ideal protein supplement. A good brand from the local shop or online stores such as Amazon or Flipkart can help. Use a grinder, juicer or shaker; add some water, some fruits and make a tasty shake out of it.



Zinc is vital for cell division, development or proliferation of immune cells and fight infections. If you have any injury, adding zinc source to your diet plan can greatly enhance your healing process.

Moreover, it will boost your immunity and protect you against infections.  Source of zinc are beef, kidney beans, spinach, liver, seafood, eggs, almonds, and nuts.



Calcium is an essential nutrient for bone health. If your diet does not contain the required amount of calcium, you are at the risk of developing osteoporosis. So, the right amount of calcium by including high-fat milk, high-fat yoghurt, and high fat-cheese in your diet can be beneficial.



Iron plays an important role in the formation of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a red color pigment of red blood cells (RBCs) that carries oxygen to every organ.

Cystic fibrosis can impair iron absorption and cause anemia. Therefore, add iron-containing foods such as jaggery, banana, liver, lamb, seafood, tuna, eggs, turkey etc. to your meal.



We all need anti-oxidants to wipe out free radicals in our body. Free radicals are the chemicals formed in our body during a metabolic process that causes cellular damage and sometimes cancer.

Include fruits and vegetables such as tomato, carrot, apple etc. in your cystic fibrosis die. They can greatly enhance antioxidant level in your body.



Accumulation of thick mucus in the intestine due to cystic fibrosis may lead to intestinal blockage.  You may consider eating high fiber food such as vegetable salads and cereals. Fiber-rich diet will clear up the intestine and reduce the risk of intestinal blockage.


Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) has laid few guidelines on how to stay healthy with cystic fibrosis. According to the CFF, if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle with CF, you have to follow the following guidelines:

  • Take care of your digestive tract (GIT)
  • Follow a good diet plan
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Take proper medication
  • Eat high-calorie diet
  • Get help from CF care team.


Why do you need pancreatic enzyme supplement?

In the people suffering from cystic fibrosis, the pancreas produces an insufficient quantity of digestive enzymes in them. The pancreas is a vital gland situated behind the stomach that manufactures enzymes for fat and protein digestion.

An excess accumulation of thick sticky mucus blocks the duct that carries enzymes into the stomach. Moreover, the pancreas cannot produce enough enzymes for digestion. This results in nutrition deficiency in the body.

So, you can consider taking pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) after doctor’s consultation. Pancreatic enzyme supplement will compensate the pancreatic insufficiency and enhance digestion and absorption of nutrients.

The accumulation of thick sticky mucus in the digestive tract hinders absorption. This worsens the condition and requires more diet supplements to compensate for the needs.  Besides cystic fibrosis diet, this enzyme supplement you benefit you extremely.


Why do you need extra salt?

Salt plays a key role in balancing the water content in our body as well as manages blood pressure. People with cystic fibrosis lose more salt (Sodium Chloride) from their sweat.

It is because the sweat glands of CF patients do not absorb the released salt so well. The salt loss increases during fever, hot weather, and infectious diseases.

Lack of salt in the body leads to water loss and ultimately dehydration. If your body does not contain enough salt, you cannot recognize your thirst. It makes the dehydration more severe, because of water deficiency.

As we know, sodium is vital in conducting nerve impulse. Moreover, it is important in muscle contraction and body growth as well. Lack of salt in body tissues and blood may produce the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Lack of concentration
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite.

To counter all these symptoms you need to add more salts to your cystic fibrosis diet.


How to get extra salt?

 To compensate the salt loss due to CF, you need to consume more salt. You may consume table salt, food containing salts or fresh vegetables containing salt.

Foods that are rich in salts are Vegemite, cheese, pretzels, salted nuts, butter, margarine, salted biscuits, Olive’s barbeque, pizza, soy sauce, packed pasta, noodles, Pickles etc. Moreover, you can eat potato crisps, canned fish, sausage, bacon, salami, ham for more salt intake. Salt supplements can also work well to compensate the salt lot due to cystic fibrosis.


 Some extra diet tips to follow:

  • Apply peanut butter on bread and morning breakfast.
  • Consume dates and raisin in snacks
  • Add sugar to cereal food items.
  • Consume skimmed milk
  • Include butter or margarine to your diet list.
  • Consider adding marshmallow to chocolates and fruits.
  • Consume extra chicken, fish, and meat in your diet.
  • Add your yoghurt and cream to salads such as tomato, potato, carrot, turnip, beet, beans, squash etc.
  • Consume crab, tuna shrimp, and seafood.
  • Add sauces to diced ham, boiled eggs, beef products etc.
  • Consume burger with cheese and bacon
  • Spread extra amount of cheese on pizza and eat


High-calorie foods/Recipes for Cystic fibrosis:

 Cystic fibrosis makes people deficient in calorie. Lack of required calorie in the diet leads to the thin weak physique. Therefore, high-calorie food is necessary to meet the energy need. Here, you will find some high-fat foods and recipes that will compensate nutrition deficiency.



  • Take 1 or 2 eggs and sweetened milk. Break the egg and mix it well with the sweetened milk.
  • Place a few bananas on a plate and slice it.
  • Take a small container and mix caramel topping and cream cheese well.
  • Add a few tablespoons of butter and warm it on a frying pan.
  • Take some toast and dip it in the milk-egg mix.
  • Place the wet toast on the frying pan and spread cheese or caramel on it.
  • Add a sliced banana.
  • Press with a spatula and heat it for 30 sec with high temperature.
  • Decrease the temp and heat for about 5 min more.
  • Now your morning breakfast is ready. You can serve the delicious breakfast for CF.



You can consider adding high protein high-calorie diet for cystic fibrosis with the following lunch recipes.

  • Take 5 teaspoonfuls of butter; add garlic and lemon juice to it. You can also add cilantro and green onion to it if you want more taste.
  • Mix it properly
  • Place 4 pound Salmon fish in an aluminum foil. Add the previously prepared mixture on the salmon. Wrap the foil to cover the fish properly.
  • Now place it on a grill and grill it for an about 10 min. Serve the butter salmon recipes in your lunch menu.



  • Take a cooking pan and pour few teaspoonfuls of sunflower on it. Heat it in medium temperature.
  • You can now place some corn tortilla on a plate and cover it with a paper.
  • Now place the plate of corn tortilla in a microwave. Heat in inside the microwave for an about 1 minute.
  • Take beef, cut it into cubes and roast it.
  • Now add taco seasoning with roasted beef and gravy. Stir the mixture until it mixes well.
  • Roll the tortilla in hot oil for few minutes.
  • Now add salt to and serve it hot.



Management of cystic fibrosis requires medical intervention and proper diet intake. You can compensate for the poor absorption of nutrients by adding more quantity to your diet. Consume high fat and calorie rich diet for optimum calorie requirement of the body.

Take the suggestion of your doctor to prepare your cystic fibrosis diet. If you suffer from dehydration due to salt loss then consult your doctor or go to a hospital for proper care. The health care professional may suggest you take pancreatic enzyme supplement or sodium chloride supplement. Make it clear with the doctor on how to consume supplements and medications.

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