Mucus is a slimy mixture of mucins, water, epithelial cells, leukocytes, and electrolytes that is secreted by the glands lining the body cavities like esophageal and nasal cavity. Simply put, phlegm (mucus) is produced in areas like the intestines and the nose.
Although mucus is a defense mechanism, too much of it can worsen allergies and colds, leading to painful and even miserable coughs. In fact, this is body`s attempt to reduce or get rid of the annoying mucus buildup.
The good news is that reducing mucus buildup doesn’t have to be that difficult. There are a few simple ways to alleviate the irritation by avoiding certain mucus-causing foods. When mucus goes from helpful to irritating, like when fighting off allergies or a cold, there are 4 foods you should avoid:
Getting Rid of Mucus: Foods to Avoid
1. Dairy products
Dairy products are the major culprit when it comes to mucus buildup. Although there are many myths regarding this, it is well-known fact that eating dairy products can make mucus thicker.
According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, dairy products like yogurt and ice cream can thicken mucus for one suffering from head cold.
A 2007 study published in the European Respiratory Journal showed that subjects who were regularly given milk powder were more likely to experience “nasal congestion, breathlessness, wheezing and reduced lung function, than participants who worked in an office environment.”
2. Certain varieties of fruits and vegetables
It is a well-known fact that eating fruits and vegetables is one of the healthiest things you can do for you. They are an essential part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.
But, some varieties might increase mucus production though. According to University of Maryland Medical Center, these are the major triggers:
If you are fighting off a cold, seasonal allergies, or a sinus infection, avoid these foods for a while.
Most nutritionists claim that wheat is one of the most common causes of respiratory symptoms. “Mucus flows where wheat goes,” according to cardiologist William Davis, M.D.
It is very difficult to establish the reason why wheat increases mucus production as there are countless components in it. But, the bottom line is that wheat should be avoided if you are to reduce the flow of mucus and congestion. “The reduction in mucous production in sinuses and airways is among the more common observations among the wheat-free,” according to Dr. Davis.
4. Beverages that lead to dehydration
This one is quite challenging because while reducing mucus would be best, morning coffee or tea is difficult to give up. However, beverages like coffee, soda, and tea consumed in large quantities can lead to dehydration.
According to The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, dehydration leads to thicker mucus. They suggest drinking water instead, in order to help the body keep mucus lubricated and thin.