Foods that cause mucus build-up

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Feb 02, 2013

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Quick Bites

  • Milk and its by-products cause excess mucus in the throat.
  • Processed wheat flour creates an unhealthy mucus build up in the body.
  • Avoid meat, fish, eggs and chicken when you have flu.
  • Caffeinated drinks are known to accelerate mucus buildup.

Mucus is a slippery secretion produced by the mucous membranes in the body. In the respiratory system, it traps small particles such as bacteria and dust that enter from the nose and prevents them from entering the body. In the digestive system, a layer of mucus along the inner walls of the stomach protects the cell linings of that organ from the highly acidic environment within it. Mucous also prevents tissues from drying out.


The presence of mucus in the nose and throat is normal, but increased mucus buildup can impede comfortable breathing. Mucus production in the respiratory tract can increase as a result of many common illnesses, such as the common cold.

Foods to increase mucus production

Certain foods are known increase mucous production on the wall of the small intestine. Knowing which foods cause it and eating them in moderation is the best way against respiratory issues.


Milk and milk products


Milk and milk products like yogurt, cheese, cream, cottage cheese and butter, cause excess mucus in the throat. They contain protein molecules called casein that increase secretions of mucus. Casein is difficult to digest and putrefies quickly, causing sinus infections. Dairy products also contain a sugar called lactose that also causes mucus.


Grains and nuts


All foods made from processed wheat flour create an unhealthy mucus build up in the body. Breads, pastas and processed cereals, and nuts, seeds and legumes cause mucus. In fact, cooked grains are also known to cause mucus.


Meats and oils


It is a good idea to avoid meat, fish, eggs and chicken when you have flu because they create nearly as much mucus as dairy products. Deep-fried foods also cause mucous build up.


Beverages, sugar and salt


Beverages like coffee (caffeine), black tea, alcohol and soft drinks are known to accelerate mucus buildup. Black tea contains the most caffeine, and it creates excess mucous. Processed foods containing salt and sugar produce mucus in the body. Eating glazed fruits also encourages mucus buildup.




Consuming too much soy can cause more chest mucus than any other plant food. Soy increases the possibility of building up unhealthy mucous in the body. So, when one is sick, it is better to use foods such as tofu, soybeans and tempeh sparingly.


Image Source: Getty

Read more articles on Healthy Eating.

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  • Samme Samms10 Jun 2012

    If you have mucus build up in your throat and are a singer. What is the best way or product get it off of your vocal chords?

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