Mucus is necessary in small amounts for helping trap dirt and germs, which are then moved to the back of your throat and swallowed. Sometimes, such as when you have a cold or infection, you may have more mucus than normal or thicker mucus than normal, which makes it more noticeable. Typically, foods contribute to mucus mainly if they cause an allergic reaction, increase histamine production or increase acid reflux symptoms.
The Role of Mucus in The Body
That’s not to say that mucus doesn’t play a role in the body. It is produced by different mucus cells (i.e., goblet cells) among the epithelial lining of organs like the intestinal and respiratory tracts. They are found inside the bronchi, trachea, and larger bronchioles in the respiratory tract as well as the small intestines, the large intestine and conjunctiva in the upper eyelid.
Mucus is produced in order to protect the mucous membranes where they are found. The problem occurs when there is excess mucus production, which can be stimulated by irritants like dust, smoke, other pollution, chemicals, bacteria and viruses, food additives, and food allergens. Excess mucus is produced to capture these particles and shuttle them out of the body – meaning more coughing, stuffy noses, a harder time breathing, and more.
Too Much Mucus and Health Issues
If you suffer from too much mucus production, you may experience, one or more of the following symptoms:
– You suffer from a chronic cough that won’t go away
– You are currently experiencing mucus from a cold and/or flu
– You wake up with puffy and crusty eyes in the morning
– Bad breath throughout the day (even after brushing your teeth)
– You have a constant stuffy nose
– Your senses are dulled (you requires lots of salt to make food “taste good”)
– Your senses are not sharp – your mind is foggy and thinking clearly is difficult
These symptoms are often a result of a sluggish digestive tract, respiratory system and lymphatic system, which could be caused by excess mucus production. The digestive tract contains millions of tiny microvilli that absorb nutrients from food. In fact, over 80% of all absorption takes place in the small intestine. When we have excess mucus build-up in the intestine, it causes a glue-like buildup that sticks in the folds of the intestinal walls. This accumulation deforms the intestines and results in over 9-10 pound blockages in the average man or woman. This obstruction results in absorption issues, digestive problems, and an overall sick and poor-functioning body.
Although excess mucus production can come from allergies (aka. pollen, pet dander, smoke, dust), household chemicals, pollution, or bacteria and viruses, a major cause of mucus production is from the diet.
Mucus and Your Diet
Certain beverages and foods can trigger excessive mucus production in the body. Two main foods that cause excessive mucus build-up are dairy and wheat. Casein in dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.), and gluten in wheat require strong stomach acids for digestion. Once digestion is complete, food particles are left over that are too big to be used by the body. These partially-digested food particles putrefy and become coated with a thick mucus to prevent further putrefaction in the intestines.
Seeing as how a large percentage of the North American diet is made up of dairy and wheat, many people carry bodies that are in a chronic state of fighting off a sort of “viral invasion” – the body gets confused by the foreign products entering the mouth (like dairy and wheat products), and thus naturally protects itself by fighting these food particles, causing inflammation and triggering excess mucus.
To be a little more specific, here is a long list of foods that create mucus in the body:
– Dairy products (yogurt, milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, ice cream, butter, ghee)
– All corn products
– Sugary treats (cookies, cake, pies, pastries)
– Wheat (bread, pretzels, buns, bagels, muffins, etc.)
– Deep fried foods
– All soy products
– Safflower/sunflower oil
– Jams and jellies
– High-fat red meat
Eliminate Mucus and Treat Your Body Right
Eliminating foods that cause mucus is key to helping the body function at an optimal pace. Raw fruits and vegetables are one of the best mucus-cleansers out there. When I switch to a high-raw plant-based lifestyle, my mucus issues subsided and my health improved 10-fold.
Aside from that, however, there are also certain foods that can relieve excess mucus. These include:
– Radishes (red, daikon, horseradish, you name it – one of that best mucus-cleansers out there!)
– All leafy greens and herbs
– Cauliflower and broccoli
– Bamboo shoots
– Ginger and turmeric
– Citrus fruits (lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges, kumquats, etc.)
– Brussels sprouts
– Hot peppers
If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll enjoy this mucus-cleansing juice recipe. One of my top recommended juices for those experiencing excess mucus build-up.