Mucous & Diet
Many conditions can cause the build up of excess mucus, such as cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. While your diet cannot completely control mucus production, it can significantly help as many foods can either contribute to or lessen buildup. Talk to your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.
Mucus and Food Allergies
The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that eating foods you have an allergy or sensitivity to can encourage mucus build up. Common allergens include dairy, wheat, corn, soy and tomatoes. You might consider trying an elimination diet where you stop eating a particular food or group of foods and then add them back into your diet. Working with a health care professional experienced in using these diets can ensure you do it properly.
Considerations for Dairy
Many practitioners advise you to avoid dairy to reduce mucus build up and this is probably one of the most common aspects of a mucus-reducing diet. A review of studies published in a 2005 "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" however, found that drinking milk did not appear to lead to increased production of mucus.
Ayurvedic practitioner Sebastian Pole, writing for his website Pukkhaherbs.com, makes some suggestions on milk consumption from an Ayurvedic perspective. He suggests only drinking milk warm and sticking to low-fat. He also cautions against drinking milk with full meals or with any foods salty or sour. Pole also recommends choosing goat's milk and avoiding dairy products like cheese and yogurt.
The UMMC lists several foods that can increase mucus production and recommends cutting back on them. They include potatoes, cabbage, bananas, sugar, preservatives, food additives, meat and salty foods. Pole suggests cutting back on oranges, pineapples, figs, dates, avocado, coconut, melon, nuts, all oils except flaxseed, corn and sunflower, red meat, pork, wheat and oats.
When it comes to foods you should eat, you want to include foods that specifically reduce mucus production as well as foods that do not contribute. Pungent foods like garlic, onion, horseradish and mustard can help break up mucus. Other foods that can reduce mucus include pickles, lemons, papaya and pineapples. As part of a mucus-reducing diet, Pole recommends grains like barley, millet and quinoa and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. As for animal proteins, he recommends chicken, turkey and seafood.
How you eat might also help reduce mucus production along with watching what you eat. Do not overeat, particularly at night. Pole also recommends having a "pinch" of ginger with a few drops of lemon juice before each meal.
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