As I look out my window on this glorious day, I am taken by spring’s two predominant colors.
There’s green, as in the new green leaves and bulbs popping up everywhere…
And yellow…as in my-car-used-to-be-mauve-and-now-it’s-freaking-yellow…yellow. Yep, I’m talkin’ pollen.
Itchy, sneezy, mucus-producing, make-you-miserable pollen. Which is the inspiration for today’s post, 5 mucus reducing foods that really work.
If you live on the East coast, you know all too well that insane pollen counts are the price we pay for tree-lined streets and beautiful fall foliage.
But this year, instead of reaching for the same old temporary (and questionable) comfort of allergy meds, why not help nip mucus in the bud with nature’s delicious decongestants?
Here are my top five faves:
1. Chicken soup—as it turns out, good ole’ chicken soup isn’t just Grandma’s answer to the flu.
A 2000 study found that chicken soup helps fight upper respiratory infections, AND “accelerates mucosal clearing”…a fancy-schmancy way of saying, it can help reduce mucus.
Not surprisingly, the study reported commercial soup varieties varied greatly in their effectiveness, so I’d stick with homemade chicken broth with lots of garlic and onions.
Think you haven’t time to make it? Sure you do…and here’s the secret: use a slow cooker!
Just throw in left over chicken carcasses (or a whole chicken), onions, celery, carrots, garlic, a splash of apple cider vinegar, water and your favorite herbs, and let it “make itself” while you’re busy changing the world.
2. Ginger—hot, spicy, and warming ginger has been used as a natural decongestant in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries.
It’s super easy to make ginger a part of your daily diet. Give these tips a try:
• Blend it in to a smoothie.
• Add some grated ginger to your fruit salad or yogurt.
• Grate some into your ice or hot tea.
• Pick up a bag of candied ginger at your local health food store.
• Add freshly grated ginger to your salad dressings for a tasty zing.
3. Pineapple—fresh pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which has been studied for its positive effects on reducing mucus and inflammation.
Click here to learn more about bromelain’s rock-star healing properties.
Fresh pineapple is readily available, delicious, and affordable so go get you some! I’m emphasizing fresh because the heat used in canning destroys pineapple’s natural enzymes.
For those concerned about GMOs, stick with pineapples from the Caribbean over Hawaii.
4. Raw apple cider vinegar with honey—we’ve talked about the many health benefits of alkalizing your body before.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, consuming raw apple cider vinegar is one of the best ways to alkalize your body and fight mucus build up.
Taken hot with some local honey makes it even more effective. I like to do this in the morning or before bed.
Here’s an easy recipe:
Apple Cider Vinegar “Hot Toddy”
1 Tablespoons raw organic apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon raw, local honey
1 cup boiling water
Stir, sip, and enjoy.
5. Cayenne—like ginger, spicy cayenne heats up the body, moves stagnation, and gets the sinuses flowing.
If you like spicy foods, you can add cayenne pepper to just about anything (including the above apple cider vinegar hot toddy).
If you’re not a fan of spice, you can purchase cayenne (also known as capsicum) tablets from the health food store.
Would you look at that? A recipe for relief from congestion was probably sitting in your fridge or pantry this whole time!
In addition to these mucus-reducing foods, a diet rich in real, non-processed, low-sugar foods is the best medicine for keeping phlegm at bay.
Many integrative practitioners also recommend reducing or eliminating dairy products if you tend towards congestion during allergy season.
What secret home remedy, or phlegm-fighting-foods do you reach for when you’re all stuffed up?
Share the love…not the mucus!
…just for the health of it!