Mucus is a problem that ails many people. From the common cold to asthma, mucus presents a problem because it constricts the airways. Chronic sinusitis produces snoring, coughing, hacking and both stuffy and runny noses. There are natural ways to prevent or even eliminate the problem, all through the consumption of proper foods.
What is Mucus?
According to SinusWars.com, (see References), mucus is a thick fluid secreted by various cells that line body organs. The thick fluid is made up of water, salt, mucin and other small cells. Mucus is important because it keeps the body from drying out. Normal mucus is clear. The problem occurs when thicker, excess mucus does not allow the sinuses to drain properly. In addition, when mucus turns another color other than clear, an infection is present. When irritants such as mold, smoke or pet dander are inhaled, they become trapped in the mucus.
The Food Connection
Foods have a direct impact on the sinuses and mucus. Dairy foods increase mucus production while fresh fruits and vegetables aid in the elimination. Drinking teas can also aid in the elimination of excess mucus. The temperature of consumed foods can also make a big difference. Cold foods constrict the passageways, while warmed foods thin and open airways. Thinning the mucus makes elimination possible.
A Perfect Fruit for Sufferers
Pineapple is a boon to asthmatics and sinus sufferers. The key element in pineapple is the bromelain. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme that breaks down proteins. It can aid the body heal from bronchitis and pneumonia as well. Fresh pineapple properties also act as anti-inflammatory agents, which can also reduce the swelling in air passages, making breathing easier and aiding in elimination.
Other Mucus-Relief Fruits
Other fruits, while not containing bromelain, have vitamin C properties. Vitamin C in adequate dosages can prevent or lessen the effects of a cold. All citrus fruits are natural boons to allergy and cold sufferers. Grapefruit in particular reduces salt in the body and will speed elimination of thick mucus and swelling, as it is also a natural anti-inflammatory. Other vitamin C bonanzas are lemons, limes and oranges. Try squeezing a slice of these natural mucus warriors into every glass of water. Fresh lemons squeezed into hot water will loosen phlegm. Fresh watermelon juice is effective at reducing toxins and symptoms.
Vegetables provide a wonderful defense against mucus and nasal allergies. Unlike other over-processed foods, fresh veggies abound in sinus-friendly dietetic choices. A steaming vegetable soup filled with fresh vegetables can significantly 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. Fruits do not contain this powerful antioxidant.
Warm and Spicy
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 pepper. The lungs lie just above the digestive track and the heat of these will aid in elimination. Another aid is ginger and a pinch of it in a daily diet may chase the mucus away. Reduce sugars and salts as seasonings as these increase mucus production. Season foods with herbs and spices. Herbal teas aid as well.
Foods to Avoid
Concentrate on fresh fruits and vegetables. The main food group to avoid during a bout of sinusitis is dairy. Removing milk during this time can slow down mucus production. Cheese and yogurt should be avoided as well. Stick to whole grain breads and avoid refined sugars in white flour and bread. Chocolate, with its high concentration of refined sugars, should be avoided as well. Yeast products should not be a part of the diet during a cold. Instead, focus on lightly steamed fresh vegetables, whole-grain rice and fresh fruit. Canned vegetables and fruit are cooked during processing, losing much of the nutritive value. Canned foods uses salt as a primary preservative--fresh is better.