Just the simple term mucus grosses most of us out, right? Oddly enough, it’s actually a simple result of our body trying to protect itself. Sound strange? Check this out: the body produces mucus as a protection mechanism just like it does tears and saliva. Mucus (like other bodily fluids) contain an enzyme that helps break pathogens we encounter through the environment, our food, or when our immune systems sense they are under attack. This is why allergic foods produce mucus, and why when you’re sick you produce more. So while it’s not a very enchanting thought, that fluid we all see as gross is actually really good for us. The problem is if we’re consistently producing mucus all the time, which indicates the immune system consistently senses it is under attack. (This may also indicate our gut bacteria is weakened since it protects us from infection and unhealthy bacteria in which the body wouldn’t produce mucous in the first place.)
So, if we are producing too much mucus (post nasal drip after eating, constantly running nose, cystic white acne, or persistent mucus from the nose or eyes), we need to think about what we are eating, drinking, or encountering that is triggering the reaction. For many people, it’s the top allergenic foods: wheat, soy, dairy, tree nuts, eggs, and gluten (which wheat is part of). For others, it might be an autoimmune disease or a simple zinc or good bacteria deficiency. So the first step is to find out the offenders, remove it, and go on an elimination diet if need be. Excess carbohydrates and refined sugar can also weaken good bacteria and, therefore, cause the body to produce mucus as a result. So whatever your case may be, figure that out first, and then add these foods below.
Perhaps one of the most cleansing fruits out there cucumbers. These are rich in water, potassium, and vitamin C all of which help to cleanse the body. Vitamin C also supports immune health and cucumbers’ alkaline nature also nourish the gut lining and reduce inflammation in the digestive tract which benefits the immune system further.
Packed with detoxification properties, broccoli contain enzymes that help break down toxins and they are a great source of vitamin C. Their fiber also feeds good bacteria and help wastes leave the body … no detox pills needed!
Carrots are a humble root veggie so easy to forget in their ability to nourish us on a deep level. Carrots contain high amounts of vitamin C, potassium (the ultimate body cleanser), fiber, and high amounts of vitamin A that supports immune health further. These root veggies can be eaten raw or cooked and make delicious dinner sides instead of processed wheat pastas and refined carbs that actually enhance mucus production and weaken good bacteria.
Apples’ vitamin C and fiber known as pectin are what make them such a star at relieving mucus build-up in the body. Their potassium content only contributes to their abilities and apples can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Eat them, blend them, juice them, or bake with them. Cook them up with cinnamon and some pears for a naturally sweet dessert or use applesauce instead of sugar instead of butter and sugar in your next batch of muffins!
Berries are another fruit well known to cleanse the body, specifically the digestive tract but that’s not all! Berries are also great sources of vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. These help cleanse the blood and their fiber helps break down toxins in the body to relieve inflammation and infection. Try using raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries in your next smoothie in place of sugary sweeteners or instead of sugary yogurts. They have a natural sweetness that lends the perfect flavor and will help support cellular cleansing and immune health naturally.
Ginger can help break down toxins and mucus very quickly due the specific enzymatic benefits it holds. It also produces an anti-inflammatory effect in the body which signifies to the immune system that it’s safe and doesn’t need to produce a protection mechanism like mucus in the first place. Use fresh ginger when possible, and add a little turmeric to benefit even further. Try them in a tea, a veggie dish, or even juice with them or make a smoothie.
Greens are one of the most powerful foods of all time to heal the body; with powerful amounts of vitamin A, C, B vitamins and even vitamin E and potassium, they support the body on every single level. Cook with greens at night, eat them during the day, or blend with them in the morning. They cleanse the body of mucus and toxins naturally, and their fiber will feed good bacteria while their high chlorophyll content will support immune and blood health.
Remember that if you’re suffering post nasal drip, excess mucus build-up of another kind, first look at what you’re eating that might be posing a problem. Then, if you remove allergenic foods and processed foods and still have a reaction, see a health specialist you trust to be sure you don’t have a bacterial infection. You should also begin adding in lots of fermented and probiotic rich foods such as sauerkraut, real pickles, kimchi, kombucha, and yogurt and kefir (non-dairy options are available) to support your system even further. When you give your body healthy, cleansing foods on a regular basis, mucus will subside naturally and your immune system can support you the way nature intended.
Eat your way to good health with every single bite!
For even more plant-based recipes and cooking how-to’s, we highly recommend checking out Food Monster app, a food app available for both Android and iPhone. The app has over 8,000+ vegan recipes with 10+ recipes added daily Give it a try — and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!
Lead Image Source: The Notorious G.R.E.E.N. Collard Wrap