Natural Cures

8 Foods That Reduce Mucus, Phlegm and Snot

Having a constantly phlegmy build-up in the nose and throat can be a nuisance; needing to constantly swallow down the slimy stuff is quite disgusting and the build-up of mucus and phlegm in the throat or snot, to use the vernacular, in the nose can even cause bad breath.

While a relatively minor problem, it can affect quality of life with sufferers feeling unable to leave the house without a pocketful of tissues and, if sensitive to the reactions of others, unwilling to stand too close to people in case their halitosis causes distress!

How to Reduce Phlegm, Mucus and Snot

The most powerful herbal remedy I’ve ever seen or personally used is a natural tincture called Mucus-Clear. After couple of drops I could immediately feel my lungs releasing and mucus clearing out. 

Mucus-Clear, is an FDA-registered natural remedy containing 100% homeopathic ingredients selected to reduce phlegm and relieve throat clearing from thick mucus.

Herbal remedies combined with some exercise and fresh air can considerably help in reducing the build-up of mucus by detoxifying your body, bringing a balance to the flora in the intestines. This helps to boost the immune system and promote improvement in health.

However there are some other simple tricks to reducing the internal build-up and congestion of phlegm and mucus: from stopping smoking, and exercising more, to simply including some of the following foodstuffs in your diet.


Pumpkin is something of a wonder food, bursting with beneficial amounts of Vitamins A, C and E, with calcium, copper, potassium and phosphorus.

Low in calories, a mere 26 calories per 100g, it is used in weight-reduction methods, cholesterol-control regimens and is even recommended for the control of COPD symptoms, a severe respiratory disorder. Pumpkin seeds are full of omega-3 which is known to have anti-inflammatory properties while the flesh contains carotene, leutin and xanthin which have antioxidant properties.

It’s this combination of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that makes pumpkin a potent mucus reducer. Phlegm is worsened where there is infection, particularly in the sinuses, and this creates the unpleasant post-nasal drip, a constant flow of mucus down the throat.

Adding pumpkin to the diet can work to reduce the infection, while the antioxidant properties boost the immune system, and both processes work to reduce the production of phlegm.

Pumpkin dishes are not terribly common where I’m from, but I’ve always found pumpkin butter to be incredibly addicting and good for you. Try some of Kauffman’s pumpkin butter and add that sweet and spicy taste of fresh pumpkin to any muffin, bagel or piece of toast!


There is little modern confirmation that ginger is effective in reducing the production of phlegm, however it seems to be one of those ancient cures that just works, much like chewing willow bark reduces the pain of a headache (the constituent part of the effective analgesic, aspirin, the workings of which are still unknown!)

It is believed that rather than reducing the production of phlegm, ginger can work to reduce the build-up of phlegm that might be left behind, so to speak, after the successful recovery from an infection.

Apart from ginger providing a boost to the entire system, it has been discovered that the active component of ginger, oleoresins, are commonly found in cough and cold remedies and are believed to stimulate the circulation and encourage any excess mucus to be released from the lungs. I usually grab my fresh ground ginger from the Kalyx natural marketplace.


If any one food can be called a super-food it is honey. This amazing substance is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal, it contains antioxidants and flavonoids; it is credited with reducing hay-fever and allergic reactions, and can ever be used on persistent ulcers and wounds to aid in their healing.

All this, and it is delicious too, nature’s own sweetener!

All the above anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make honey effective in reducing phlegm and mucus, but honey is also soothing to roughened mucosal linings, making it an ideal treatment. One tip is to add a teaspoon of ground or powdered ginger into a small amount of honey to reap dual benefits.


This pungent root vegetable is ideal for scouring out the sinuses and throat, as anyone who has ever peeled a particularly vicious specimen can attest!

Raw onion works well, but it is not necessary to torture yourself, or refrain from kissing loved ones, in order to reduce mucus and phlegm. Sliced onions with a little honey poured over them gradually lose the eye-watering potency and burning taste while keeping all the health benefits.

These benefits are quite staggering; they are a rich source of Vitamins C, B6, B1, K biotin, chromium, calcium and folic acid, and a mere 44 calories per 100g.

The component that makes the eyes sting are enzymes called allinases, which is also found in garlic and other similar plants, but it is the abundance of a substance called quercitin that makes the humble onion so medically amazing.

Quercitin has been shown to thin the blood, prevent blood clots, raise good cholesterol while lowering bad levels, help with diabetes, atherosclerosis and fight infections, as well as fighting asthma, chronic bronchitis and hay fever, all conditions which cause excessive phlegm production.

I camp and backpack a lot and like to bring organic freeze-dried onion granules with me. They pack a punch of flavor and nutrients.


Grapefruit can be thought of as a bit of a joke, something to mention when a diet is hinted at; but they are an excellent choice for health benefits as well as for weight control.

They contain iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folic acid and a host of B vitamins. Some of their health benefits include enhancing the immune system, reducing infection, boosting liver function and aiding recovery from colds and fever.

The active ingredient found in grapefruit, which works to reduce phlegm and mucus, is salicylic acid, known for its antiseptic properties. It is imperative to check with your health provider if you are taking certain medications; grapefruit can interfere with their efficacy.


Pineapple is an excellent all-round health enhancer, packed full of Vitamin A and C, and containing calcium, phosphorus and potassium. It has been found to help the fight against macular degeneration and promote good gum health as well as being a high-fibre, low calorie treat.

Pineapple contains bromelain which works mainly to regulate the digestive system but also has a beneficial effect on mucus and phlegm production too.

I usually keep a bag of pineapple tidbits in my gym bag for a quick and healthy post workout snack!

Cayenne Pepper

Perfect for those who like a little kick in their meals cayenne pepper makes a wonderful addition to many dishes, and brings with it a variety of health benefits.

The active ingredient in cayenne pepper is called capsaicin and it is this that gives heat to the pepper. Capsaicin boosts the metabolism and therefore is excellent to use when trying to lose some weight, but it is also effective against arthritis, diabetes and psoriasis thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties that it contains.

Cayenne pepper can break down mucus build-ups and help the body to flush it from the system. Once the mucus is removed, general relief from flu-like symptoms usually follows quickly. Use cayenne pepper as a general pick-me-up to boost the metabolic and circulatory systems, thanks to the detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Chamomile Tea

A perfect night-time beverage as it aids sleep chamomile tea has been proven to reduce the effects of nasal congestion and 8-foods-that-reduce-muscus-phlegm-snotinflammation of the mucosal linings. Chamomile contains flavonoids and apigenin which can actually help to clear the inflammation that has led to the increase of mucus production.

While trying to reduce mucus and phlegm production it is best to avoid dairy products as these can worsen the problem; chamomile tea is a worthy and beneficial substitute!

Grab some fresh and organic chamomile tea here.

With a wealth of natural products to choose from, the battle against unpleasantly rattling phlegm need not involve major lifestyle changes. A few tasty inclusions to your diet should have your airways beautifully clear again, so that you can live your life to the full once more.

About the author


David Aston

Hey I'm David, founder of WhyAmIUnhealthy. I help people all over the world dramatically improve their health, safely and naturally, without breaking the bank.


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    • 5 years ago I had a severe bout of pneumonia coupled with a sinus infection and have had constant phlegm since. Twice I have accidentally discovered a home based “cure” for expelling the phlegm as using hot steam in the shower has been my primary source of relief. Of course I had the usual rounds of antibiotics, but have struggled with phlegm since 2009. I am not usually into eating gel-based candies but I’ve noticed extraordinary results with eating candy such as Mike & Ike’s and Sour Patch watermelon flavor candies. This is purely conjecture, but could the thickening agents used in those candies bind to the phlegm and allow it to be expelled with even greater success? For me personally, this is the case. What I expel within an hour or so of eating the candies is what I would expel after several showers of hot steam. Mind you, the results I’ve experienced are also coupled with taking a hot shower, but much more productive than a hot shower alone. Just wanted to pass this bit of information along, as the problem has been a nuisance for the last 5 years and if I can help someone else with this issue, all the better! :)

      • Do you drink a lot of milk, or milk products like cheese or dairy products? Dairy products increase the mucus production in your body so eliminating this can heal mucus problems. Check out Dr. Sebi and his products they are amazing

    • Dairy products have no effect on phlegm production or making the problem worse. It might feel this way because milk has that thick or slick feeling.

      There have been at least two large scale studies done that showed no effects.

      • dairy has everything to do with mucus production and u said proven by two large studies it doesnt… please do your research because i did and dairy mskes it worst every time…

      • Milk is bad for you period.
        I have been working as a health care provider for 7 years and my family are army nurses and civil engineers.
        Milk, if you think about it, is designed for a baby calf. Not for human consumption. Studies actually show that milk that is sold today actually depletes calcium. Milk today is loaded with hormones and other aditives. If you absolutely have to drink milk, drink grass feed milk from a whole foods. Milk today is not what our grand parents grew up with.

      • Sorry, Nvr Ness but that’s too broad & general a statement.
        I’m 67 yrs old & have had problems since I was 2 weeks old, till was 32, whe I gave up ALL Dairy on the advice of a young Dad at my kids school, who’d had Asthma his whole life.
        It worked so fast & so successfully.
        We are not all made the same and some have intolerances to some foods or substances where others don’t

        • I drank up to 3 gallons of milk a week for over 20 years, until I started having problems with phlegm. I cut out the dairy and it cleared up. However, I started drinking milk again and it’s back. Milk is my vice, my addiction. It has good and bad properties, more bad than good.

      • You are full of bologna! There are other people out there that have problems with phylegm from eating diary products! I am one of them!

    • HORSERADISH! the fastest way to loosen it up and expel it – drink a glass of hot water with lemon and horseradish (PURE or with vinegar only, not the one with sugar mayonnaise etc)
      And be near a sink or toilet for the next 15 minutes to cough up and expel a bunch of unwanted sticky stuff

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  • *shoves every single ingredient in my cup and prays for divine intervention if it kills me and hopes it makes me better* Thank you for this lovely article, maybe things will clear up my sinuses a little.

  • (1) Green Tea, Mint & Lime ‘ wonderful to aid in fat burning and assist with digestion, combating headaches and congestion; also a natural breath freshener.
    Before picking any one of the products from store, make sure that you choose the best product manufactured by a reliable company.
    Calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphor, sodium, iron and zinc are among the vanguard of beneficial minerals, with calcium being extra crucial
    to the detoxification process.

  • Hi. My name is Nath. I have CCF (moderate MR, moderate TR and severe AR). Currently I am in fluid restriction diet. I am having GERD too. I have thick, foamy and white/transparent sputum. Can i know what food should i eat to reduce the symptoms? Tq.

  • Is it safe to take honey alone to reduce mucus when suffering from cold and cough or does it need to be taken always in combination with warm water, ginger or lemon.

  • I have a 10 year old daughter whom has had food allergies her whole life.. All Dairy allergic to the protein, Soy allergic to the protein, peanuts too. recently she has begun clearing her throat and having excessive mucus after eating for 20 to 30 minutes we have her on a strict diet being she has severe food allergies already. I’m not sure what’s going on I am apprehensive about seeking medical advise as we always encounter a battle with the doctors about food allergies. We aren’t interested in another pill or nose spray we just want help with her current symptoms. Not interested in a band aid response. I am going to try some of the things listed to counter act the mucus wish us luck.

    • There is a permanent way to get rid of allergies which doesn’t involve a change in foods eaten , or the taking of any medication, contact me if interested in more info aointedu on comporium. net

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  • my 14 year old daughter has developed a cough had it now for 4 weeks, when she coughs she now starts to hyperventilate which is very scary for her and us. she has been given inhalers but I don’t think she has asthma? how can I help her? I have increased her vit c to about 5000 mg a day (4 days so far) doctors have taken swab from back of throat and clear, bloods and clear, waiting for mucus result and chest xray. but chest is always clear? she is so scared of coughing. she deals with it well but she is a dancer and quite a sporty kid and she has had to sit out of these so far. any ideas?

    • My cousin had this same issue. It took months to get to the bottom. Not AT ALL saying this is what your daughter has but they finally got to the bottom and treated her for whooping??? Cough. Hope y’all have answers soon.

  • I totally agree that milk is the single worst thing you can give to your body, not only because it creates ecxessive amounts of mucus but also because it’s extremely inflammatory for your entire body. I fight colds and congestion with a wonderful tonic that I found in Massachusetts called Fire Cider! It’s said that New Englanders used to drink a full spoon of this tonic on the daily basis back in time and stayed in the books for its benefits. I get it in my local Co-op market it’s wonderful!!! Some of the ingredients are ginger, turmeric, raw honey, habanero pepper, apple cider vinegar, garlic, onions, black pepper, horseradish, oranges and lemons. Can’t go wrong with any of those great ingredients.

  • My Grandmother (78) LOVES dairy, and will consume it ESPECIALLY when you tell her she shouldn’t. So at night, I made her Chamomile tea with honey and some lemon before bed, otherwise she would be up all night (and us too) coughing and hacking up phlegm. This works great!!!

  • Try removing ginger juice and mix it with basil juise and honey. Drink 2 spoons of this morning and evening and nothing would be able to stop you from breathing freely! This is an ancient Indian remedy which has been around in my family for ages.