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Dealing With Congestion? Avoid These Foods

By Randi Morse

It's that time of year again: the time of year when I start getting extremely worried about germs and being overly cautious of touching my face after I've touched a surface. While there is no cure for the common cold, there are some things that we can do to help prevent congestion. Congestion can occur both during a viral event and without any sort of virus present, and occasionally it can be caused by the food that we're eating.

How Does Food Cause Congestion?

Sam can eat spicy foods, but every time Sally eats spicy foods she winds up with an upset stomach. Food impacts everyone in different ways, and just as Sam can handle spicy foods and Sally can't, there are some people who get congestion issues from certain foods. The body finds these foods to be irritating and makes mucus in an effort to protect the body from the irritating substance that you have eaten. The more mucus the body makes, the more stuffy and congested you feel.


While it may taste great, sugar is what is known as a pro-inflammatory. It makes more mucus in the body, which is why it's important to keep your sugar intake low, especially during the cold and flu season. Refined sugar can be found in many different types of food, so if you're trying to avoid overdoing your sugar intake, make sure that you read all labels carefully.

Spicy Food

It may be that Sally doesn't enjoy spicy food because she's much more sensitive to it. If you are sensitive to spicy foods it may be due to the histamines that your body makes. The body actually makes more histamines in response to spicy food being introduced into your system, and if you're dealing with a cold or are having difficulties during allergy season, spicy foods may cause a great deal of grief.


I know that I'm guilty of drinking milk when I'm sick, especially if I have a sore throat. I feel like it coats my throat and makes me feel better. It turns out that I'm very wrong. Milk actually thickens mucus, which means that it takes the body a great deal longer to get the mucus out of your system. If you're not feeling well, make sure you avoid milk for awhile. 

Congestion can definitely be frustrating, but being cautious about what you eat can help to reduce the inflammation and congestion issues that you're facing. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Renton, Wash.

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