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Foods That Increase Mucus in the Body

by August McLaughlin

About August McLaughlin

August McLaughlin is a certified nutritionist and health writer with more than nine years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as "Healthy Aging," "CitySmart," "IAmThatGirl" and "ULM." She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her second cookbook and Weight Limit—a series of body image/nutrition-related PSAs.

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Mucus is a slippery substance your body produces to protect various tissues such as the lining of your nose, mouth, sinuses, lungs and digestive tract. Although it plays an important role in human health, conditions such as bronchitis, allergies, asthma and cystic fibrosis can cause excessive mucus production, increasing your risk for discomfort, congestion, inflammation and breathing difficulties. A healthy diet that limits certain foods may help reduce symptoms of excessive mucus production.

Dairy Products

In a study published in the "European Respiratory Journal" in November 2007, researchers analyzed the health of 167 people who worked in a milk powder factory and 76 office workers, all in Thailand. Participants who were regularly exposed to milk powder were significantly more likely to experience nasal congestion, breathlessness, wheezing and reduced lung function than participants who worked in an office environment. Dairy products may also increase mucus production if you are allergic to cow's milk, which is one of the more common food allergies, and they can thicken mucus in almost anyone. Common dairy sources include milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, ice cream and pizza.

Certain Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are prime sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which support your body's ability to resist and heal from illnesses. However, certain varieties may increase mucus production, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC. Potential culprits include bananas, potatoes, corn and cabbage.

Added Sugars

Added sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar and fructose, add calories and sweetness, but few nutrients. Sugar also may increase mucus production, according to the UMMC. Foods particularly high in added sugars include candy, milk chocolate, frosting, pancake syrup, jellies, frozen desserts and commercially made cakes, cookies, pastries and pies. Sugar-rich beverages include regular soft drinks, energy drinks, sweetened iced tea, lemonade and fruit punch.

Allergens

In addition to milk, other food allergens such as wheat, soy and artificial additives and preservatives may increase mucous production. If you suspect that these or other foods worsen your symptoms, seek proper testing from your doctor. To confirm an allergy or determine if you have an intolerance, which is milder than an allergy, your health care provider may suggest eliminating suspected problem foods from your diet. If your symptoms then improve, your symptoms may be diet-related.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.