Foods to Avoid Nasal Congestion

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Nasal congestion affects many people daily. It results from inflammation in nasal blood vessels. When this takes place, the nasal cavity swells and results in congestion. Of course, there are many ways to treat nasal congestion but the best approach is through diet. You can avoid it by avoiding certain foods.

A woman blows her nose with a tissue.
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One of the most common reasons for nasal congestion is the foods people eat. Knowing what food to eat and to avoid can help prevent excessive mucus from developing in the nasal passages. While allergies and other conditions add to sinus congestion, food is the first place to explore.

Dairy is one of the main culprits of nasal congestion, causing excess mucous to build up. Many people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy will have a chronic issue with mucous. Even if these conditions aren’t the case for you, dairy causes mucous in the throat that will eventually work its way to the sinus cavity, causing inflammation and the blockage.

A glass of whole milk.
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Refined sugar is another mucous-causing food. Avoid foods with added sugars, especially ones high in refined and processed sugars. The most common processed sugar is high fructose corn syrup. Processed sugars are manipulated to increase sweetness, making it difficult for the body to break them down. So the body responds with an increase in mucous. Stick to naturally sweet foods like fruit or agave nectar or honey.

Some carbs produce excess phlegm in the nasal cavity, such as pasta, cereal and other bread-like foods made with white flour and processed. Two grains that do not produce mucous are quinoa and millet. If you experience nasal congestion, eat these two grains and replace all others until the congestion clears up.

A plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
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Many people believe that substituting milk products with soy will cure or alleviate nasal congestion. This is not the case. Soy is now in many processed foods, health foods and drinks. Though soy is a good substitute for milk, it still causes mucous build up. Soy actually increases mucous in the body and can overload the mucous membranes throughout the body.

A carton of organic soy milk.
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Avoid caffeine in chocolate, coffee, tea and other byproducts of these foods and beverages. Caffeine weakens the immune system and has a direct effect on the adrenal glands. When the adrenal glands weaken, so does the body’s defense against mucous build-up. Cut out all forms of caffeine during nasal congestion. Once the congestion is gone, introduce one caffeinated food at a time to see which ones affect you more than others.

A cup of black coffee.
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