It’s a very cold winter here in London and we all have to endure people around us coughing, sneezing, spitting up phlegm on the street and complaining about their cold or flu symptoms. Seriously, it can be really irritating and invasive, especially if you’re in a confined space with people who are sick! Some of those same people experience influenza type symptoms throughout the year regardless of the climate, which can be equally as annoying. Yet, they rely on the same over the counter medication and remedies that never work. I’m always amazed by some people’s passivity, ignorance and the look they give me when I mention that the foods they’re eating is a contributing factor to their ill health and dis-ease. I will never understand how some people can be satisfied/content with the state of their poor health, the reliance on medication that doesn’t work, and the reluctance to try plant-based options that may relieve their symptoms and do them no harm!So if you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution/lifestyle that you can maintain for the rest of your life, then start making better food choices.
But first, let me explain what mucus is and how it can affect the body.
Photo credit Samuel Zeller
UNDERSTANDING THE MUCUS IN YOUR BODY
If you experience regular bouts of influenza (colds/flu), bad breath, and crusty eyes when you wake up in the morning, then you may be suffering from excess mucus production.
Mucus is produced by tissue (epithelial, or surface cells) lining the mouth, nose, sinuses, throat, lungs and gastrointestinal tract. Mucus has a number of essential functions, such as protecting the soft tissue and delicate organs it lines and to keep them from getting dry and irritated as a result of our continual breathing. Mucus also serves to attract dust, pollutants in the air that we breathe, as well as bacteria and other foreign particles, before they can enter the body; it’s a sticky substance so that it can trap things.
Like all tissues and fluids in our bodies, the chemical composition of mucus is complex. Mucus is 95% water, most of which is covered in proteins called mucins, which form a gooey liquid when mixed with fluids. Mucus also has antibodies that help the body recognise invading microbes, and it has enzymes that kill foreign organisms. Tiny hair-like structures called cilia, which line the oesophagal and nasal cavities, help push the mucus outward when we cough or sneeze. The sticky nature of mucus helps ensure that foreign particles or bacteria do not enter our lungs when we breathe.
Mucus is something that our bodies make at all times, even when we’re healthy. In fact, the adult human body makes about 1 to 1.5 litres of the stuff every single day! Most of this mucus trickles down quietly down our throats; but when we get sick, its consistency gets thicker, which causes us to notice it and to want to expel it.
TOO MUCH MUCUS
If you suffer from too much mucus which can result in a sluggish digestive system, respiratory tract and lymphatic problems you may be experiencing the following health issues.
Constant stuffy nose
A persistent cough that won’t go away
Lots of mucus from a cough/flu
Bad breath, even after you’ve brushed your teeth
Puffy and crusty eyes when you wake up in the morning
A foggy mind and the inability to think clearly
An altered sense of taste
So, as well as mucus occurring from toxins, pollutants, household chemicals, bacteria and viruses, smoke and allergies, a significant cause of mucus in the body is from food, particularly mucous forming foods.
The digestive tract contains millions of tiny microvilli that absorb nutrients from food. Over 80% of all absorption takes place in the small intestine. When we have excess mucus build-up in the intestine, it causes a glue-like buildup that sticks in the folds of the intestinal walls. This accumulation deforms the intestines and results in over 9-10 pound blockages in the average man or woman. This obstruction results in absorption issues, digestive problems, and an overall sick and poor-functioning body.
Grab a dustbin bag and get rid of some of the following foods that can cause excessive mucus in the body and start eating plants.
Photo credit Kayla Nicole
FOOD AND MUCUS
There are a number of foods and beverages that can trigger excess mucus production in the body. The two main food culprits are dairy and wheat. Casein in dairy products, such as milk, yoghurt and cheese including the gluten in wheat require strong stomach acids for digestion. Once digestion is complete, food particles are left over that are too big to be used by the body. These partially digested food particles putrefy and become coated with a thick mucus to prevent further putrefaction in the intestines. Here’s some more foods to steer clear off.
The mucus list…
Wheat – including cakes, bread, muffins, bagels etc.
Sunflower and safflower oil
Jams and jellies
Sugary sweets and treats
So how do you eliminate mucus from your body you may ask? Introducing plant-based raw, fruits and vegetables into your diet will help to rid your body of excess mucus and allow your body to function at an optimal pace.
Say goodbye to regular influenza, congestion, and poor health by switching to the following foods.
photo credit Peter Feghali
Leafy greens – every type of leafy green vegetable you can get your hands on
Radishes – one of the best plant- based mucus cleaners
peppers – particularly hot peppers
Ginger and turmeric
Cauliflower and broccoli
Citrus fruits – make sure oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes are on your shopping list
Leafy herbs – rosemary, thyme, basil and parsley
Don’t forget you can eat many of these foods raw and even juice them and get the same health benefits!
Hopefully, this has been useful to you and people you know who experience mucus issues. If you’ve experienced similar issues and changed your diet to plant-based foods to combat it, let me know in the comments section and share your story.