What not to eat when coughing? Foods that aggravate cough

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What not to eat when coughing is important to be clear about.

Cough by itself is very irritating, painful, annoying, tiring and can lead to sleepless nights. Various factors like cold, infection, pollution, allergy and side effects of medicines can trigger a cough. But, if any food you eat aggravates your cough, your condition can quickly become lot worse. So you need to know what not to eat when coughing and avoid foods that aggravate cough.


Let us see what not to eat when coughing.

What not to eat when coughing?

Not eating certain foods when coughing can help overcome infection, inflammation and allergy quickly. The following are some foods to avoid when coughing, as they are likely to aggravate cough, inflammation, irritation etc.on:



Dairy based food and drinks

If you are coughing or have an inflammation or infection in your respiratory tract, avoiding dairy based foods and drinks can help relieve your symptoms to some extent.

Why not to consume dairy based foods or drinks when coughing?

Researches have proved that consumption of milk and other dairy based foods and drinks triggers excess mucus production. Milk, when digested apparently stimulates mucus production in the digestive tract. Similarly milk and other dairy based foods and drinks trigger excess mucus in the respiratory tract too.

If you already have a cough, infection or inflammation, consumption of dairy based foods and drinks can produce even more mucus making your condition worse. Excess mucus thus produced can make your cough more severe.

Consumption of diary products may also make your mucus thick and stickier, making it difficult for you to expel mucus. So, experts advise us to avoid milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, cottage cheese and any other milk based foods and drinks when you have a cough.


So what not to eat when coughing? When you are coughing, avoid all milk based foods and drinks so you feel better. You need to avoid eating or drinking any dairy based foods or drinks when you have a cough or inflammation or infection of respiratory tract.

Foods that aggravate asthma and cough

Asthma makes you wheeze, breathless and leads severe cough at times. So if you suffer from cough due to asthma, you need to stop eating foods that aggravate your asthma.

How do I know which foods aggravate asthma or cough?

You can check with your doctor if your asthma is related to your diet. If yes, you need to avoid all foods that aggravate your asthma and cough. Examples of foods that can aggravate asthma include nuts, yeast, eggs, shellfish, fish and milk etc.

You need to maintain a diary of what you eat and how your asthma fluctuates as you eat different foods. Such food diary and analysis of cough symptoms can help you understand what not to eat when coughing.

Caffeine

When you have a cough, it is important that you keep yourself well hydrated. Water is the best drink when you are coughing.

If you have a chesty cough, you need to drink lots of fluids because you need your mucus thinned. You can easily expel the mucus easily when it is thin. Your chesty cough will come down when your mucus is thinned.

On the other hand when you have a dry cough, you may suffer from a dry throat and difficulty in swallowing. To heal dry throat, dry cough etc,. you need to drink lots of fluids. Many people say you can drink any fluids you wish but coffee is not very good to hydrate you.

Why is coffee bad for you when you are coughing?

Coffee makes you pass more urine. When you pass more urine, you may get dehydrated and your cough may become more difficult to treat. So you need to avoid coffee when you have a cough.

If you are coughing after eating due to GERD, acidity or acid reflux,, you need to stop consuming caffeine based food and drinks. If you drink a hot coffee, you may feel a temporary relief from cough for an instant. But consuming coffee loosens the esophageal sphincter which allows more acid and semi-digested food from stomach into esophagus. This aggravates cough due to GERD or acid reflux.

Alcohol

Consumption of alcohol aggravates dehydration. Dehydration in turn aggravates cough.

If you have a dry cough, dehydration makes your throat dry, itchy and you cough more. Dry throat makes you feel very uncomfortable and painful to drink or swallow. This discomfort may in turn aggravate your cough.

If you have a chesty cough, dehydration makes your mucus thick and sticky, you may feel stuffy and congested. This makes it difficult for you to expel your mucus. If you cannot expel your mucus, chesty cough persists.

So you need to avoid alcohol when you are coughing. Instead you need to drink lots of water to keep yourself well hydrated.

Processed and refined foods

Processed foods and refined foods are low in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fibre. So when you eat processed and refined foods like packaged snacks, white bread, white pasta etc. your body will not get the essential vitamins and minerals etc. Foods made from white sugar and white flour slow your body’s natural healing process by suppressing the immune system.

Why should you stop eating processed or refined foods when coughing?

When you are coughing, your body needs a strong immunity to infections etc. To build immunity, your body needs sufficient vitamins, minerals and fibre etc. You need to avoid processed and refined foods when you are coughing as they are very low in nutrients like vitamins and minerals. You need to eat more whole foods and green leafy vegetables when you are coughing as whole foods can get you more vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Sugar and sweets

Sugar and sugar based sweets lower your body’s immunity and you lose the ability to fight infections and inflammations. When you consume high sugar foods, at first your stress hormone levels get elevated due to adrenaline stress but soon you are depleted of these and feel adrenal fatigue. As low cortisol levels make you more susceptible to colds, coughs and infections, you need to avoid eating sugar and sweets when you are coughing.

You can go for honey and honey based sweets instead of sugar. Honey is a great natural remedy for cough so when you consume honey, your cough gets suppressed.

Cold foods

When you are suffering from a cold or cough, eating cold food or drinking cold drinks is not a good idea. Cold foods like ice creams and milk shakes make your cold and cough worse.

Generally cold foods and drinks dry out your respiratory lining and make you more susceptible to infections, inflammation and may trigger an irritation. So you must be avoiding cold foods and drinks when you are coughing.

Fried foods

Fried foods aggravate cough and digestive problems. If you are coughing, you need to avoid fried foods like french fries, chips, burgers etc. as such food may aggravate your cough and trigger digestive complications too.

Why should you avoid fried foods when coughing?

When you fry foods in hot oil, the process genrates an unsaturated aldehyde called acrolein. Acrolein is a colourless liquid with a piercing and acrid smell.

You might have noticed the typical smell when you heat cooking oil to its smoking point. This smell is caused by glycerol from the fat breaking down into acrolein when you heat the oil to smoking point.

Acrolein is an allergen that can lead to itching in throat and aggravate coughing. As fried foods contain excess acrolein, you need to avoid fried foods when you are coughing.

Mango, Banana, Citrus fruits and juices

Mango, banana, citrus fruits and juices have citric acid, aggravates throat irritation and cough. You need to avoid mango, banana, citrus fruits and juices when you are coughing.

Mango, banana and citrus fruits are very essential and healthy when you are not suffering from cold and cough. You just need to careful with such foods when you are coughing. Instead, you can go for other fruits high in water such as water melon, pine apple, pears, grapes etc.

Heavy or Late Dinner

If you are coughing after eating due to GERD or acid reflux, eating a heavy meal just before going to bed can make it worse. Eating a heavy meal makes it easier for semi-digested food and acids from stomach to re-enter the esophagus. This is more severe in people suffering from GERD because the esophageal sphincter muscle does not contract and relax properly when you have GERD.

To avoid any aggravation of coughing after eating, you need to avoid overeating at night and late dinners. You can have a smaller dinner around 2 hours before bed time.

Smoking

Smoking damages your respiratory system very badly. The damage that smoking causes to your body can start with a simple irritation in throat or dry cough and can eventually lead to bronchitis or cancer.

So if you are coughing for any reason, you need to avoid smoking if you want to recover quickly from your cough. If you are not a smoker, you need to stay away from smokers as passive smoking can be as bad for your health as smoking itself.

Foods that lower your immunity

Some common foods can lower your immunity or impair body’s natural healing ability or increase inflammation.

Examples of such foods include veal, hot dogs, donuts, ham, soda and energy drinks etc. So you need to avoid such foods when you are coughing.

If you continue to eat or drink foods that lower immunity or increase inflammation, your cough may get worse. Such foods may also aggravate GERD and acid reflux which in turn make your cough more severe.

Summary | What not to eat when coughing?

As you have seen above it really helps to know what not to eat when coughing. The above foods and drinks are just a few foods and drinks from what not to eat when coughing.


To know precisely what not to eat in your case, you need to check with your doctor. What not to eat when coughing may be different for different people. The above is a general opinion of what not to eat when coughing.

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