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BellaOnline's Allergies and Colds Editor

Mucus-causing foods

Mucus is something that allergy, cold and sinusitis sufferers know far too much about from personal experience. But they may not know about the role certain foods play in mucus production.

Basically, you are what you eat when it comes to mucus, according to some experts. Certain foods are mucus-forming. These foods happen to be many peopleís favorites, including sugar and caffeine. Thatís a downer, especially for chocolate, coffee and sweet lovers, like myself, who suffer with excess mucus.

Other mucus-producing foods include dairy products, eggs, wheat, fried and fatty foods, pastries, beer and anything containing food additives. Other experts include soy, nuts, shellfish and all refined carbs (white flour, white rice, etc.). In some cases, but not all, the foods may add to mucus because the individual is allergic.

I have avoided all of the offending foods but have been reluctant to give up caffeine, especially chocolate. I guess it's time to make the ultimate sacrifice to reduce my mucus problem.

Medical practitioners usually advise patients with colds, allergies and sinusitis to stay clear of the above listed foods, especially dairy, caffeine and sugar.

Instead, they recommend that sinus-clearing foods be eaten. These include fresh fruit and vegetables, chicken broth, fish, garlic, onions, chilies, ginger, horseradish and mustard.

Chicken soup is a good bet if you want to thin out mucus and help clear it out. This works because chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, which is similar in chemical content to a drug called acetylcysteine, which thins out mucus. Sipping hot herbal teas and drinking more water (2-3 liters per day) may help mucus move too.

Hot, spicy foods are well known for their ability to keep mucus thin and flowing. One of the best is cajun spice, made with cayenne peppers, which contain capsaicin, a substance that stimulates nerve fibers and may act as a natural nasal decongestant.

Definitely, avoid iced drinks which can paralyze the cilia (hairs) in the nose that help flush out mucus. Instead, opt for warm or hot drinks. But remember (sadly) no coffee, chocolate or sugar.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Sheree Welshimer. All rights reserved.
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