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Having a constantly phlegmy build-up in the nose and throat can be a nuisance; needing to constantly swallow down the slimy stuff is quite disgusting and the build-up of mucus and phlegm in the throat or snot, to use the vernacular, in the nose can even cause bad breath.
While a relatively minor problem, it can affect quality of life with sufferers feeling unable to leave the house without a pocketful of tissues and, if sensitive to the reactions of others, unwilling to stand too close to people in case their halitosis causes distress!
How to Reduce Phlegm, Mucus and Snot
Herbal remedies combined with some exercise and fresh air can considerably help in reducing the build-up of mucus by detoxifying your body, bringing a balance to the flora in the intestines. This helps to boost the immune system and promote improvement in health.
However there are some other simple tricks to reducing the internal build-up and congestion of phlegm and mucus: from stopping smoking, and exercising more, to simply including some of the following foodstuffs in your diet.
Pumpkin is something of a wonder food, bursting with beneficial amounts of Vitamins A, C and E, with calcium, copper, potassium and phosphorus.
Low in calories, a mere 26 calories per 100g, it is used in weight-reduction methods, cholesterol-control regimens and is even recommended for the control of COPD symptoms, a severe respiratory disorder. Pumpkin seeds are full of omega-3 which is known to have anti-inflammatory properties while the flesh contains carotene, leutin and xanthin which have antioxidant properties.
It’s this combination of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that makes pumpkin a potent mucus reducer. Phlegm is worsened where there is infection, particularly in the sinuses, and this creates the unpleasant post-nasal drip, a constant flow of mucus down the throat.
Adding pumpkin to the diet can work to reduce the infection, while the antioxidant properties boost the immune system, and both processes work to reduce the production of phlegm.
Pumpkin dishes are not terribly common where I’m from, but I’ve always found pumpkin butter to be incredibly addicting and good for you. Try some of Kauffman’s pumpkin butter and add that sweet and spicy taste of fresh pumpkin to any muffin, bagel or piece of toast!
There is little modern confirmation that ginger is effective in reducing the production of phlegm, however it seems to be one of those ancient cures that just works, much like chewing willow bark reduces the pain of a headache (the constituent part of the effective analgesic, aspirin, the workings of which are still unknown!)
It is believed that rather than reducing the production of phlegm, ginger can work to reduce the build-up of phlegm that might be left behind, so to speak, after the successful recovery from an infection.
Apart from ginger providing a boost to the entire system, it has been discovered that the active component of ginger, oleoresins, are commonly found in cough and cold remedies and are believed to stimulate the circulation and encourage any excess mucus to be released from the lungs. I usually grab my fresh ground ginger from the Kalyx natural marketplace.
If any one food can be called a super-food it is honey. This amazing substance is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal, it contains antioxidants and flavonoids; it is credited with reducing hay-fever and allergic reactions, and can ever be used on persistent ulcers and wounds to aid in their healing.
All the above anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make honey effective in reducing phlegm and mucus, but honey is also soothing to roughened mucosal linings, making it an ideal treatment. One tip is to add a teaspoon of ground or powdered ginger into a small amount of honey to reap dual benefits.
This pungent root vegetable is ideal for scouring out the sinuses and throat, as anyone who has ever peeled a particularly vicious specimen can attest!
Raw onion works well, but it is not necessary to torture yourself, or refrain from kissing loved ones, in order to reduce mucus and phlegm. Sliced onions with a little honey poured over them gradually lose the eye-watering potency and burning taste while keeping all the health benefits.
These benefits are quite staggering; they are a rich source of Vitamins C, B6, B1, K biotin, chromium, calcium and folic acid, and a mere 44 calories per 100g.
The component that makes the eyes sting are enzymes called allinases, which is also found in garlic and other similar plants, but it is the abundance of a substance called quercitin that makes the humble onion so medically amazing.
Quercitin has been shown to thin the blood, prevent blood clots, raise good cholesterol while lowering bad levels, help with diabetes, atherosclerosis and fight infections, as well as fighting asthma, chronic bronchitis and hay fever, all conditions which cause excessive phlegm production.
I camp and backpack a lot and like to bring organic freeze-dried onion granules with me. They pack a punch of flavor and nutrients.
Grapefruit can be thought of as a bit of a joke, something to mention when a diet is hinted at; but they are an excellent choice for health benefits as well as for weight control.
They contain iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folic acid and a host of B vitamins. Some of their health benefits include enhancing the immune system, reducing infection, boosting liver function and aiding recovery from colds and fever.
The active ingredient found in grapefruit, which works to reduce phlegm and mucus, is salicylic acid, known for its antiseptic properties. It is imperative to check with your health provider if you are taking certain medications; grapefruit can interfere with their efficacy.
Pineapple is an excellent all-round health enhancer, packed full of Vitamin A and C, and containing calcium, phosphorus and potassium. It has been found to help the fight against macular degeneration and promote good gum health as well as being a high-fibre, low calorie treat.
Pineapple contains bromelain which works mainly to regulate the digestive system but also has a beneficial effect on mucus and phlegm production too.
I usually keep a bag of pineapple tidbits in my gym bag for a quick and healthy post workout snack!
Perfect for those who like a little kick in their meals cayenne pepper makes a wonderful addition to many dishes, and brings with it a variety of health benefits.
The active ingredient in cayenne pepper is called capsaicin and it is this that gives heat to the pepper. Capsaicin boosts the metabolism and therefore is excellent to use when trying to lose some weight, but it is also effective against arthritis, diabetes and psoriasis thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties that it contains.
Cayenne pepper can break down mucus build-ups and help the body to flush it from the system. Once the mucus is removed, general relief from flu-like symptoms usually follows quickly. Use cayenne pepper as a general pick-me-up to boost the metabolic and circulatory systems, thanks to the detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
A perfect night-time beverage as it aids sleep chamomile tea has been proven to reduce the effects of nasal congestion and inflammation of the mucosal linings. Chamomile contains flavonoids and apigenin which can actually help to clear the inflammation that has led to the increase of mucus production.
While trying to reduce mucus and phlegm production it is best to avoid dairy products as these can worsen the problem; chamomile tea is a worthy and beneficial substitute!
With a wealth of natural products to choose from, the battle against unpleasantly rattling phlegm need not involve major lifestyle changes. A few tasty inclusions to your diet should have your airways beautifully clear again, so that you can live your life to the full once more.