Avoid These Eight Food Items and Get Rid of Mucus

18 August, 2020
Some food items have been linked to increased mucosity. Which ones? What should you know about them? Continue reading to find out more about how to get rid of mucus.
 

The build-up of mucus in the airways causes symptoms such as congestion. While it can be controlled with some medications, it’s also important to watch your diet. Did you know that you should limit some foods in your diet in order to get rid of mucus?

Although these aren’t the direct triggers of excess mucus, their intake can affect the processes that increase their production. Therefore, even though many contain important nutrients, it’s better to avoid them when suffering from this problem. Discover what they are here!

What’s the function of mucus?

Mucus is a viscous secretion that covers membranes in the body and contains antiseptic enzymes and immunoglobins. In the respiratory system, mucus is responsible for trapping tiny particles, like bacteria and dust, that enter through the nose. Certain foods may cause mucus to build up more than usual.

Because it works to protect the lungs, mucus often accumulates in the airways when an infection is present, as is the case with the cold and flu, as well as allergies.

Excess mucus is an annoying symptom that can leave you feeling weak and sick during the day. What’s worse, if not properly treated soon enough, it can spread to other areas of the body like the nose, chest, ears, and throat.

This symptom is a defense mechanism against viruses and bacteria that affect the respiratory system. For this reason, it’s important to treat the problem at its source to keep the body from producing it in excess.

 

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Exclude these food items from your diet to get rid of mucus

One of the things we can do when we’re suffering from excess mucus is to avoid certain foods that can increase mucus production, as set out in this information from the Lung Institute. At the same time, we should also avoid ingredients that affect our immune system. Get to know what they are!

1. Dairy and its derivates

Dairy products can make some people feel like their mucus and saliva is thicker and harder to swallow. However, as a review published in the British Medical Journal shows there’s no evidence that milk leads to excessive mucus secretion.

Knowing this, you should only avoid this type of food when you feel they make your mucus thicker. Otherwise, you can safely consume them.

Some milk in bottles.
Dairy doesn’t increase mucus production, however, this symptom seems to increase discomfort.

2. Red meat

Research has not been able to prove that red meat can cause mucus increase. However, it is believed that their consumption may worsen the secretion and accumulation of mucus in the respiratory tract. Therefore, in the case of flu, colds, and similar, its ingestion is not recommended.

3. Animal fat

 

The majority of diets include large amounts of animal fats and oils, like butter, lard, and omega 6 fatty acids. It’s really important to avoid animal fats and opt for healthy fats like olive oil and foods with omega 3 fatty acids if we want to reduce mucosity.

4. Certain types of fruit and vegetables

We all know that fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet and we should eat them daily to take advantage of all their benefits. However, when you have excessive mucus, it’s best to avoid:

  • Corn
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Potatoes

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5. Wheat won’t help you get rid of mucus

Many nutrition experts agree that wheat can increase and cause mucus production. It contains so many compounds that it’s difficult to know which of them causes excess mucus, this study reveals it could be related to gluten. Whatever the case, it’s best to avoid wheat products if you want to reduce mucus and congestion.

A doctor saying no to bread.
Wheat seems to make mucus worse. Although there’s no conclusive evidence, it seems that it’s due to its gluten content.

6. Drinks that dehydrate the body

When you have a respiratory infection, it’s essential to increase your liquid intake and eat foods with higher water content. Some people might consider drinking soft drinks a great way to hydrate the body.

 

However, soft drinks contain high quantities of sugars and other compounds that can dehydrate the body. This can make it difficult to expel excess mucus.

7. Avoid peanuts and nuts to get rid of mucus

Nuts can increase the production of mucus and phlegm in certain people that have an intolerance and are highly allergic, as shown in this edition of the Journal of Asthma and Allergy. The same occurs with other types of food intolerances.

8. Processed foods

Processed foods like sugar and flour are difficult to digest and can make congestion problems worse. Because sugar is a pro-inflammatory, the body can react to the inflammation by creating mucus. Likewise, those with gluten intolerance should avoid these products because along with causing digestive problems, they can also create discomfort by causing mucus and phlegm levels to increase. 

Diet to get rid of mucus – things to keep in mind

The evidence of the relationship between these foods and increased mucus is limited and, generally, what’s said about them comes from anecdotal data.

However, instead, it’s recommended to increase the consumption of healthy foods that help strengthen the immune system. According to an article published by the Harvard School of Public Health, it’s suggested to ingest sources of probiotics and prebiotics; vitamins A, B6, C, D and E; and minerals like zinc, selenium, iron, and copper.

 
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  • Bleich SN, Vercammen KA. The negative impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on children’s health: an update of the literature. BMC Obes. 2018;5:6. Published 2018 Feb 20. doi:10.1186/s40608-017-0178-9
  • Weinberger T, Sicherer S. Current perspectives on tree nut allergy: a review. J Asthma Allergy. 2018;11:41–51. Published 2018 Mar 26. doi:10.2147/JAA.S141636