Understanding The Role Mucus Plays In Your Health

Have you ever had super spicy food for your nose to start running?  Did you know that not just spicy foods can cause your body to produce more mucus than normal?  Mucus helps us by collecting dust, bacteria, and airborne particles that are in the air not allowing them to get into our system making us sick. 

We do need mucus as a defensive barrier, but too much mucus can cause harm to us.  Especially for those who already have an underlying condition such as COPD, which causes mucus buildup in lungs.  If you have COPD and your body starts over making mucus this can cause lots of complications to this disease.  


What you eat can affect mucus production.

Mucus producing foods don’t necessarily have to create excess mucus, they can also thicken mucus we already have.  Once there is an over accumulation of mucus, the excess mucus will fill in the lungs.  If you are wondering if your foods are causing you to have excess mucus, there are some symptoms that accompany this.  These symptoms are chronic cough, puffy or crusty eyes, bad breath throughout the day, and a constant stuffy nose.  


Mucus Producing Foods

Here is a list of foods that can cause extra mucus production: red meat, milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter, eggs, bread, pasta, cereal, bananas, cabbage, potatoes, corn and corn products, soy products, sweet desserts, candy, chocolate, refined sugar, coffee, tea, soda, alcoholic beverages, dried fruits, spicy foods, tomatoes, nuts, high Gluten foods.  

This looks like a lot.  Everyone tolerates food differently though.  So you will have to listen to your body, and figure out what foods you feel cause you to produce excess mucus.  Most of these foods though fall into the major allergy food categories, such as wheat, soy, gluten, dairy, tree nuts, and eggs.  Not everyone is allergic to these foods or has an intolerance.  Someone who eats popcorn and feels like it congests them, does not mean everyone who eats popcorn will have this same reaction.  


Mucus Elimination Diet

There is a mucus elimination diet.  That consists of eliminating foods that you feel congest you and eating a majority of foods that decrease your levels of mucus.  These foods are foods high in antioxidants, and Vitamin C.  Also if you think anti-inflammatory foods that equals anti-mucus foods. 


Anti-Mucus Foods

This list of foods for anti-mucus foods are:  salmon, tuna, sardines, flounder, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, grapefruit, pineapple, watercress, celery, pickles, onion, garlic, honey, ginger, lemon, cayenne pepper, chamomile, olive oil, broth, decaf tea, berries, cantaloupe, leafy greens, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, squash, and cucumbers. 

Warm liquids are also helpful for eliminating mucus just make sure they are decaffeinated beverages.  Flaxseeds and walnuts are also foods that are high in anti-inflammatory properties.  There are a fair amount of foods that you can help balance out your diet to help eliminate excess mucus.  If you suffer from allergies, COPD, or asthma it may benefit you to go on an anti-mucus diet, to eliminate foods that cause excess mucus, and then add in foods that help keep you healthier.  



Everyone responds to foods differently.  This may take some time for you to realize what foods affect you.  Just because they affect someone else does not mean your body will have the same reaction.  This does not mean you can no longer eat spicy foods ever, it just means you will need to be careful with how much and how often you eat so your body doesn’t have an influx of mucus.  Usually excess mucus is not a big deal, and will resolve in a few days time.  But if you have an underlying condition that excess mucus in your lungs can cause complications you will want to pay attention to these foods.  


Mucus protects the body from bacteria and airborne allergens but too much mucus can cause health issues.

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