I recently posted a recipe on Facebook for my Pine-lime Splice (pineapple based smoothie) and mentioned that the bioflavonoids in pineapple make it a great food to eat if you’re snotty. Well, there are obviously lots of people struggling with this recent spate of nasty flu bugs about, because the post was extremely popular.
So I thought I’d better share my favourite foods which may help to support your body to clear mucus – you know, that post viral phlegm that’s sometimes difficult to shift.
Fruits that support mucus excretion
My number one choice is Pineapple. The bioflavonoid bromelain in pineapple is a proteolytic enzyme (meaning it breaks down proteins). It is thought to boost immune function and has anti-inflammatory properties which help to open up the airways. In nutritional medicine, bromelain is often used to support sinus conditions (reduces the swelling and mucus production) and helps to clear both upper and lower respiratory congestion.
Other fruits I love to support immune function are berries and citrus fruits especially grapefruit. Grapefruit is wonderful for breaking down excessive mucus and luckily is in season right now. I also love lemon or lime juice in warm water to hydrate (which helps expel mucus) and support immune function. This recipe for Immune Tea is a favourite also.
Whilst fruit is good, vegetables are even better. Your dietary choices should be firmly focussed on consuming a range of fresh vegetables, lightly steamed or raw if you’d prefer. Fresh, in-season greens, are especially powerful immune boosters as they contain chlorophyll (ideas for including greens in you diet here). Include as much garlic and onion as possible – both are well known to support your immune function. The quercetin (another bioflavonoid) in onions is anti-inflammatory and also helps to break down mucus.
Warm and Spicy
Heat helps to thin and expel mucus. Warm vegetable based soups made with immune boosting bone broth (recipe here) is a must. Using warming herbs and spices in your meals like cumin, ginger, cayenne, chilli, turmeric, oregano, thyme, sage and cinnamon is a great idea. Herbal teas are a lovely way to stay hydrated and help to expel mucus – I especially love ginger, turmeric, chamomile and peppermint.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
ACV is very antibacterial and helps to break down mucus congestion. I only use an organic, unpasteurized ACV (Bragg brand). If you like the taste, add a teaspoon to your herbal tea.
Omega-3 rich fish like salmon, tuna, herring and sardines are my preferred sources of protein to reduce mucus. Omega-3’s support immune function and reduce inflammation and are a good choice to reduce your mucus load.
Foods that are best avoided
On the top of my list are (surprise, surprise) high sugar, processed foods as they impede immune function and promote inflammation. It is also worth avoiding dairy and soy products for the time being as both can be mucus forming. Instead, focus on fresh whole foods, with an emphasis on seasonal vegetables. Please also note that canned or processed fruit and vegetables offer none of the previously mentioned benefits, so please stick with fresh only.
**Obviously please seek the help of a medical practitioner in the case of serious or ongoing symptoms. The above information is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment.