Foods That Affect Mucus Production


Excess mucus can make respiratory conditions even worse and can also be a burden to those that are healthy but have come down with something causing extra phlegm and congestion. Knowing what foods to avoid when trying to prevent mucus from forming means understanding which foods are notorious for mucus production in the human body. If you avoid such foods and still have symptoms, seek medical treatment or talk with your doctor.

Excess mucus can cause unwanted coughing fits.
Excess mucus can cause unwanted coughing fits.


Dairy based products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, can increase mucus production in the body. Milk fat is the main cause for this and switching to lower-fat content options can help prevent some of the mucus produced when eating these foods. Even though low-fat alternatives help decrease some of the mucus produced, the only way to begin eliminating mucus producing foods is to beg off all dairy products. Fortunately, labeling makes choosing such foods easier and those seeking to remove dairy from their diet should look for the words 'dairy free' on food packaging.

An assortment of dairy products
An assortment of dairy products (Image: Oksana Shufrich/iStock/Getty Images)


Soy, though a healthy alternative to meat and protein, can also increase mucus production in the body. Soy is used in an assortment of foods such as cereals, protein bars, cakes, cookies and breads. Because limiting or avoiding soy is not as easy as simply not eating soy by itself, again, label reading becomes a crucial weapon in the quest to reduce mucus.

Soybean growing on branch
Soybean growing on branch (Image: Marccophoto/iStock/Getty Images)

Wheat / Gluten

Wheat and gluten, which is the naturally derived byproduct of wheat, can cause excess mucus. This becomes even more concerning when people have gluten allergies or sensitivities, such as those with Celiac disease. Reducing and removing both wheat and gluten from a diet can help alleviate excess mucus. Gluten free food labeling has become common and is clearly noted on food packaging and labels.

Wheat field
Wheat field (Image: florin1961/iStock/Getty Images)

Starchy Fruits and Vegetables

The naturally occurring starch associated with fruits and vegetables such as bananas, corn and potatoes can turn to mucus in the body. These starchy foods should be avoided when you are attempting to limit mucus in the body. Though eliminating these items alone is easy, you must also be aware of how these foods are used in other items. For example, potato flour and cornmeal are used in an assortment of items ranging from cereals to baked goods.

Sliced banana in bowl
Sliced banana in bowl (Image: tycoon751/iStock/Getty Images)


Sugar, particularly white, refined sugar and processed sugar, can increase mucus in the body. For this reason, when trying to eliminate mucus causing foods from your daily dietary intake, remove foods high in sugar content.

Spoonful of white sugar
Spoonful of white sugar (Image: grafvision/iStock/Getty Images)

Fruit Juices and Water

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are foods you can consume to help alleviate excess mucus. Fruit juices, mainly apple or orange juice, can help thin out mucus due to citric acid. Consume as much water as possible when you are experiencing bouts of excess mucus.

Mature man drinking a glass of water
Mature man drinking a glass of water (Image: Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

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