Foods to Eat and Avoid with Chest Congestion

Health conditions that involve the concentration of mucus in the chest can either be long term or short term. Bronchitis and other mild chest infections last one to three weeks and then clear.

When you suffer from chest congestion, there are so many foods you can eat to help ease the effects. Such liquids, for example chicken soup, can help to reduce the phlegm that causes the congestion. There is an array of information on how to clear chest congestion. What you will not find in plenty is information on foods to avoid with chest congestion. When consumed, these foods can aggravate the condition.  

What Causes Chest Congestion?

When you become sick, your respiratory system gets irritated. This causes your body to produce a large amount of mucus, also known as phlegm. These are invading foreign bodies and so the immunoglobulin works to fight them off. Every time you cough when you have chest congestion, it is simply your respiratory system trying to expel the excess foreign bodies and dead cells.   

If you are allergic to certain foods, it is possible to develop chest congestion.Eggs, wheat, nuts and milk are common allergens. If you have been suffering from recurrent chest congestion, you can reduce the symptoms by avoiding the foods that trigger the congestion. If you are not sure about the foods that cause the congestion, you can consult an allergist. They will be able to diagnose the cause and also advice on the foods to avoid with chest congestion.   

How to Diagnose Chest Congestion

It is not hard for you to know when you have chest congestion. Symptoms include coughing out mucus. Early signs of congestion involve coughing and feeling the presence of phlegm in your chest. You might experience fever, a runny nose, headache and a sore throat. These are the symptoms that make it possible for the doctor to diagnose the type of chest infection you have.  

The first course of action when you develop chest congestion is to find ways to manage it. What you eat can go a long way in helping to either soothe or aggravate the condition.  

Foods to Avoid with Chest Congestion

  • Dairy Products

These products contain Casein, which are protein molecules. These are known to encourage the secretion of mucus. This protein molecule is hard to digest. Therefore, avoiding butter, milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products will inhibit the production of mucus. Lactose is also a sugar that is contained in dairy products. This too creates mucus, which can worsen the condition.

  • Animal Flesh

Meat is also known to increase production of mucus. It is advisable to avoid fowl products, eggs, meat and even fish if you want to control the production of mucus.

  • Soy

Soy is one of the foods to avoid with chest congestion. Most people will imagine that trading soy for dairy and meat products will help. Unfortunately, soy too can cause production of mucus. However, with soy you can minimize the effects by controlling the amount you take. 

Foods Recommended for Chest Congestion Relief

  • Fluids

Take plenty of fluids including water juices and other non-caffeinated beverages. Fluids help thin the mucus secretions and relieve congestion. 

  • Chicken Soup

This is the perfect remedy for colds, flu and chest congestion. Chicken soup has been used for many years to soothe the effects of chest congestion. The heat and moisture help thin the mucus.

  • Spicy Foods

Cayenne pepper, chili powder and other spicy foods help drain your clogged sinuses. The active ingredient in cayenne pepper, Capsaicin, has been shown to decrease congestion caused by rhinitis.

  • Vitamin C

This is an essential vitamin that increases the effectiveness of your immune system. While it won’t help with the symptoms, it can help reduce duration and severity of the conditions that cause chest congestion. Foods that contain vitamin C usually contain lots of fluids that can help thin mucus. Load up on fruits and veggies that contain vitamin C like lime juice.

Helpful Tips for Dealing with Chest Congestion

Now that you know about the foods to avoid with chest congestion, let’s go over a few tips to help with a few tips that can bring instant relief.

  1. Gargle

You can break apart the mucus blocking your airways using gargles. Add 2 tablespoons of table salt to a cup of warm water. Add a little turmeric and stir. Gargle the solution for about 2 minutes, 4 times a day.

  1. Steam

Just like drinking hot liquids, steaming can help to dissolve and break up the mucus blocking your lungs and throat. Start off by taking a steaming hot shower. Get a bowl and fill it with boiling hot water. Place a towel over your head and lean into the bowl such that you’re trapping all the steam with the towel. Hold on as long as you can as you breathe deeply. To make the steaming session even more punchy, add some eucalyptus or peppermint.

  1. Elevate Your Head

Sleep with your head elevated. This helps with mucus drainage to prevent build up as you sleep. Use a stack of pillows to raise your head slightly above your torso. Make sure it’s comfortable to avoid injuring your neck.

  1. Practice Yoga

While this might seem counterintuitive given that you’re already struggling to get even the most mundane things done, yoga can go a long way in relieving the symptoms.  Yoga can actually help drain out your airways. Try out the reclining bound angle position where you lie on the floor and place a pillow along your spine beneath you.  Your head should be raised above your legs. Now bend your knees. With the knees still bent, lay your feet flat on the ground. Hold for about 15 minutes.