Excess mucus is a common problem that ails many people, especially during the winter months. The common cold, asthma, bronchitis, sinus congestion, all involve excess mucus that constrict the airways. There are ways to prevent or even eliminate the problem using simple natural therapies, but we shall briefly look at how this problem can be helped by using specific foods.
Mucus is a thick fluid secreted by various cells that line body organs. The thick fluid consists of water, salt, mucin and other small cells. Mucus has an important function of preventing the body from drying out. Normal mucus is clear. The problem occurs when thicker, excess mucus does not allow the sinuses to properly drain. In addition, when mucus turns another color other than clear, it signifies that an infection is present. When irritants such as mold, smoke or pet dander are inhaled, they become trapped in the mucus.
Especially helpful when excess mucus is a problem are all citrus fruits, especially grapefruit, which is a natural anti-inflammatory. It reduces salt in the body and speeds up the elimination of the thick mucus and swelling. Fresh lemons, squeezed into hot water and drunk, will loosen phlegm. Fresh watermelon juice is effective at reducing toxins and symptoms. Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down protein.
Vegetables have the power to make the mucus move along and dissolve. Some vegetables with powerful elimination properties are asparagus, onions, cauliflower, celery and garlic. Fresh green vegetables are better immunity boosters, as they contain chlorophyll.
Heat dissolves mucus. Warm pureed soups of vegetables are a delicious and soothing way to remove mucus from the body. Turn up the heat with spices like garlic and ginger. Drink lots of water and herbal teas.
The main mucus forming food group to avoid is dairy. Removing milk during this time can slow down mucus production. Cheese and yogurt should also be avoided. It is best to avoid all grains for a time, as they are mucus forming. Avoid all refined sugars and refined salt, as well as refined flour products. Chocolate, with its high concentration of refined sugars, should also be avoided and starchy foods (bananas are very mucus forming). While suffering with cold symptoms, yeast products should be eliminated and not be a part of the diet. Instead, focus on eating lightly steamed fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. Canned vegetables and fruit lose much of the nutritive value during processing, so fresh is always better.
Kaye Sehm, Back to Eden Newsletter. Winter 2011, No. 47., P.O. Box 850, Lavington, NSW 2641, Australia.