5 Anti-Mucus Tips to Increase Immunity, Including Diet

It’s finally spring, and this year it’s arriving with one heck of a bang. More than ever, we’re all concerned about decreasing our chances of getting sick. 

Of course, we all know the first lines of defense by now:

  • Wash your hands
  • Cough into your elbow
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Practice social distancing
  • Stay at home if possible 

If you follow all of these rules, you’re going to have a good shot at avoiding the coronavirus, as well as the flu and colds.  But that’s just part of the story because, in addition to having a good defense, you need to have a good OFFENSE—and that means fine-tuning your immune system so it can fight off any germs or irritants that get through.

Now, there’s one unsung hero of the immune system that I want to talk about right now: MUCUS.

I know that when you think of mucus, you think, ICK.  But here’s the deal. Mucus plays a vital role in your immune and respiratory systems because it coats the inner surfaces of your body like a protective blanket. To do this job, this mucus has to be the right consistency. Otherwise, it can hinder your ability to fight off germs—and if you have seasonal allergies, it can also cause a sore throat, nasal stuffiness, and even difficulty breathing. These are all uncomfortable… plus, a cough or a dribbling nose will make you a social pariah these days!

Luckily, according to the Lung Institute,  the lifestyle choices you make can make a big difference when it comes to keeping your mucus flowing just right. Here are five of my best tips.  

Five ways to decrease and thin mucus production

Increase the humidity in your home

At the very least, ramp up the humidity while you’re sleeping. Better yet, keep your humidity optimal both day and night. 

By the way, my patients frequently ask me if they should use a cool-mist humidifier or hot steam. Steaming does decrease the production of mucus, but when you’re looking at adding long-term humidity, I prefer cool-mist humidifiers, which are safe to run all day or night. Do make sure you clean cool-mist humidifiers regularly.

Stay hydrated with warm drinks

My readers know that I start my day with warm lemon water. This is my mucus-thinning superhero because it starts me off with a big dose of hydration. And here’s a bonus: Lemon contains a large amount of vitamin C and soluble fiber that can also help with that belly bloat. 

Bone broth is also a multitude of fantastic health benefits from daily bone broth. The vitamins, nutrients alone offer tremendous health benefits and give you a healthy happy gut.  

Add anti-mucus foods to your diet

Foods rich in antioxidants can improve your body’s immunity, ramp up your ability to heal, and optimize your mucus production. Here are some of the best foods to reach for when you want to flood your body with phytonutrients. 

Fruits, vegetables, and spices that will boost your immunity and decrease mucus

  1. Bone Broth
  2. Berries
  3. Citrus Fruit
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Kiwi
  6. Tomatoes
  7. Leafy Greens
  8. Bell Pepper
  9. Radishes
  10. Cayenne
  11. Hot Mustard
  12. Garlic

    Bonus, check out this immune-boosting smoothie! 

    vitamin-c, immune boosting smoothie

    Think anti-inflammatory foods for an anti-mucus diet 

    Healthy fats reduce inflammation, which helps to prevent excess mucus production—and if you eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, you’ll also boost your immunity. So I recommend adding the following foods to your diet:

    • Salmon
    • Tuna
    • Trout
    • Sardines
    • Flounder
    • Olive Oil
    • Flaxseeds (great in smoothies)
    • Walnuts 
    • Pumpkin Seeds

    Buy the highest quality your budget can afford. However, if the coronavirus crisis is taking a bite out of your budget—and I know that’s true for millions of us—don’t hesitate to shop the bargain brands.

    Gargle with saltwater

    When I was young and I had a sore throat, my grandma always told me to gargle with saltwater. What can I say? Grandma was always right! A salt solution reduces inflammation, easing throat pain and loosening thick mucus. Gargle with Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt, and you’ll also get a dose of immune-boosting minerals.

    Eucalyptus

    Eucalyptus is an ancient treatment for coughs and excess mucus. You can apply it directly to your chest or add eucalyptus oil to a diffuser or warm bath. I love adding eucalyptus Epsom salts to a relaxing bath at the end of the day.  

    Dr. Kellyann chilled green power soup

    I know it’s easy to overlook the importance of mucus, which is one of the humblest heroes of the body, but now is the time to give it the respect it deserves.  When you keep your mucus at just the right consistency, it can protect you from infections—something that’s more crucial than ever right now—and also help you get through allergy season with fewer coughs and runny noses. So give that icky snot some love!

    Anti-mucus tips

     

    Check out my segment on Fox 2 Detroit where I talk about how to decrease mucus in your body.

     

    Keep Positive and Stay Healthy,

    Dr. Kellyann


    Check my recent blog on how to boost your immune system.