Mucus is a slippery secretion produced by the mucous membranes. It is usually produced from both serous and mucous cells in the mucous glands. Mucus is a viscous colloid with antiseptic properties and contains immunoglobulins, inorganic salts, and glycoproteins such as mucins and lactoferrin.
The function of mucus is to protect the epithelial cells lining the urogenital, gastrointestinal, respiratory, auditory, and visual system. In the respiratory system, mucus protects the lungs as it helps to trap foreign particles that are breathed in from the nose. The mucus is then continually moved toward the oropharynx to ensure harmful pathogens do not enter the lungs during breathing. Mucus also helps moisturize the inhaled air and prevent the mucous membranes from drying out.
Mucus secretion may increase, especially in disorders such as influenza, common cold, asthma, allergies, and chronic bronchitis. While the presence of mucus is normal, excessive mucus can cause discomfort as it impedes breathing. It can be cleared through the expectoration of phlegm or blowing of the nose. Individuals experiencing excessive mucus secretion can also adapt their lifestyle by avoiding certain foods that increase mucus production. Some of the foods that cause mucus production are discussed in this article.
Mucus Causing Food #1: Refined Grains
Refined grains refer to products made from grains or grain flours that have modified compositions. The modification process usually involves the removal of germ and bran through sifting or grinding. Further refining processes include bleaching, mixing, and brominating. For additional benefits, iron, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin can also be added to enrich the product.
Refined grains may cause mucus production. It would be better to opt for whole grains as they provide more minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants compared to their refined counterparts. While refined grains can increase mucus production, whole grains can reduce it.