Surprising Foods That Can Trigger a Cough

The human body does a number of things when it is exposed to irritants. Coughing is one of them. When the irritant is inside the lungs, the brain sends a message to the abdominal muscles to push the irritant out by coughing.

It is normal for a person to cough every once in a while. The cough could be a reaction to dust, accidentally swallowing a bug, or the body trying to get rid of excess mucus. Coughing can be an effective way of eliminating the irritant as it can eject air and any particles out of the lungs at around 50 miles per hour.

This detail is one of the more common cold facts and myths topics related to the belief that all coughs are contagious. Coughing due to allergies, for one, is not infectious. You will not cause other people to start coughing if you are coughing due to allergies, after swallowing a bug, or if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), among others.

The type of cough you have could also vary depending on the cause. Coughs can be dry, productive or include phlegm, or occur only during the evenings. A cough that lasts no more than three weeks is said to be acute, while those that persist over eight weeks are labeled chronic.

Consistent coughing can be annoying, especially if you are about to go to sleep or with a group of people. As the reasons for the cough can vary from one person to another, what can relieve the coughing may also be different. Gathered here are some of the foods you should avoid so as not to trigger a coughing fit, and alternatives to relieve some of the symptoms.

Dairy products

Dehydration and a dry throat can trigger coughing. People who cough are often advised to drink plenty of liquids to keep their throat moist. However, not all liquids are created equal.

Milk, for instance, has been known to encourage the production of mucus in the lungs and throat. Drinking milk or consuming any dairy products can potentially make your cough worse. This is why individuals with a cough are often advised to stay away from dairy products.

However, dairy products such as fortified milk, yogurt, and anti-diarrhea medicines for adults are also rich in probiotics or good bacteria. They may not directly relieve the cough, but they can improve your immune system and reduce the chances of developing a cough in the first place. Including probiotics in your diet keeps your body healthy but is not recommended when you already are coughing.

Caffeinated food and drinks

There are several reasons why you may want to avoid coffee and sodas while you have a cough. For one, they often contain sugar, which causes inflammation in the body. Sugar can make it harder for your body to fight off infections.

Food and drinks containing caffeine such as sodas, coffee, black tea, and energy drinks are also diuretics which, in turn, cause your body to lose more fluids. As a result, these types of drinks can leave you dehydrated.

To keep your throat moist and your body hydrated, better stick to drinking water and other types of clear fluids instead of caffeinated drinks. It is also safe to take in sports drinks, although it is best to avoid any of the red-colored flavors before seeing a doctor. The coloring can make your throat appear inflamed, preventing the doctor from making a proper assessment of your condition.

Citrus fruits

Eating a balanced diet consisting of a large portion of fruits and vegetables is one way of staying healthy. However, when you have a cough, certain fruits should be avoided.

Limes, lemons, and oranges are a few examples of citrus fruits. Such fruits are rich in Vitamin C, which is good for the body. On the other hand, the citric acid in these fruits can trigger acid reflux, irritating your throat and causing you to cough in the process.

Instead of citrus fruits, indulge more in fruits that contain high water content. Peaches, pineapples, pears, and watermelons are some of the fruits you need to stock up in your fridge if you have a cough.

Pineapples, in particular, are rich in vitamin C and anti-inflammatory enzymes known as bromelain. Drinking the juice also breaks up tough mucus, making it easier for the body to expel them. Not only are pineapples good for keeping you hydrated, but they can also help you recover quicker from your coughing bouts – a win-win situation!

Crunchy foods

Any foods that can easily crumble, such as biscuits, crackers, and nuts, should be avoided if you have a cough. Your throat is already sensitive when you start to cough. The dry, rough texture of these foods could irritate your throat further.

Instead, go for foods that are easier to swallow. If you do need to munch on a biscuit, gargle with salt water immediately after. This should help speed up the healing process.

Sweet, fried or processed foods

Any foods or drinks rich in simple carbs and sugar should be avoided or consumed in limited quantities when you’re having coughing fits. Eating too much sugar can raise your blood sugar levels and prevents your white blood cells from doing their job properly. Your immune system slows down as a result.

Furthermore, sugar increases the production of cytokines in your body. Cytokines are inflammation markers. Consuming too many sweet juices may not directly make you cough, but they make it easier for you to get sick.

Ice cream, chips, white pasta, and white bread are not the only foods that can make you feel worse. Even sugar-free candies can potentially trigger a sore throat and coughing.

Sugar-free candies contain sorbitol that can cause tummy trouble or diarrhea. Diarrhea can result in dehydration and even headaches, both of which are no-nos when coughing. If your throat feels scratchy, look for cough drops that don’t have any sugar or sugar alternatives such as sorbitol.

Coughing can be irritating. It can even leave you annoyed and exhausted as it prevents you from having a good night’s sleep. So it helps to know the many potential food triggers for coughing. Avoid these foods if you are coughing for any reason. This way, you can recover quicker and get back to your regular routine as soon as possible.