Foods that produce phlegm


Mucus arises as a response from the body itself, which tries to protect itself by ‘filtering', through mucus, the small particles of dust in suspension that contain allergens or pathogenic microorganisms to stop their entry as much as possible. When, in addition to mucus, phlegm causes the feeling of having the chest ‘loaded', it is important to take measures that facilitate its expulsion, such as drinking plenty of fluids or maintaining correct environmental humidity.

Foods that produce phlegm

But, in addition, it is advisable to avoid some foods that increase the presence of phlegm or contribute to increasing its density, making it more difficult to eliminate them. 

Milk and derivatives

Although there is no scientific evidence that shows a direct relationship between the intake of dairy products and the increase in mucus and phlegm, as reported in a study published in the British Medical Journal [1].

In addition, research estimates that the presence of certain sugars, including lactose, causes allergies and intolerance in many people; as it also happens with proteins such as casein, which could be the reason that, in many cases, the intake of milk and products, such as cottage cheese, curd or yogurt , end up increasing the presence of phlegm.


What can produce phlegm? In general, drinks and infusions that contain exciting substances such as caffeine and theine can irritate the walls of the stomach, triggering gastric reflux problems that, although they do not directly cause an increase in phlegm, they can increase the uncomfortable sensations that they cause. , especially in the case of carbonated drinks that contain caffeine.

In addition, they are drinks that do not promote good hydration, so they do not help reduce the density of phlegm or facilitate its expulsion. If you are tired of constantly having phlegm, check out our article How to Quit Coffee.

Wheat and refined flours

Especially if the origin of the phlegm is unknown and it could be the result of an intolerance to gluten, it is advisable to avoid eating cereals such as wheat and products derived from refined flours such as bread and pasta . It is believed that refined flours could increase the internal humidity of the body, favoring the formation of phlegm.

Alcoholic drinks

If you are wondering what foods produce phlegm, alcoholic beverages could not be missing from this list. Indeed, beer produces phlegm, there is no doubt about it: if you are going through a period in which phlegm is persistent, any alcoholic beverage must be ruled out of the diet because its main effect on the body is dehydration, something that it will make the phlegm thicker causing even more problems to the respiratory system .


Nuts are generally an excellent source of energy and beneficial nutrients, but if it is suspected that the cause of excessive mucus production may be due to an intolerance or allergy , some, especially peanuts and walnuts, should be taken in moderation or directly removed from the diet if you want to cut out phlegm-producing foods.

Salted fish

What can produce phlegm? Excess salt in the diet. This is a habit that you should always try to avoid, but if you also suffer from a severe cold, with abundant phlegm, it is important to do without, at least temporarily, salted meats and foods with too much salt because their effects will also be reflected in the mucous membranes of the whole organism, altering its natural balance and contributing to generate more phlegm or to make it denser and more difficult to eliminate.

Some fruits, vegetables and greens

In general, in the presence of abundant phlegm, it is advisable to avoid eating hard and raw vegetables, not only because it will be difficult for you to swallow them, but also because what the body demands are liquids, especially broths.

Apart from this and even if they are boiled some foods such as potatoes or cabbage are not suitable either. So what fruits produce phlegm and should be avoided? Anything that can cause adverse (allergic) reactions and, in particular, bananas , due to their high sugar content that can also promote the presence of phlegm.

Red meat

In this list of what foods produce phlegm, we could not forget about red meat. Due to its high protein content , and also due to the level of saturated fats that less lean red meats may contain, taking them when you have excessive mucus and phlegm may be discouraged.

Soy and derivatives

Although there are many beneficial properties of soy, it is estimated that some of its derivatives, such as tofu, could contribute to increasing phlegm due to the high concentration of histamines included in its composition, substances that are responsible for numerous allergies that usually manifest with increased runny nose and mucus.


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