7 Reasons Why You Are Coughing Up Flem After Eating!

Excessive phlegm in the throat is irritating and troublesome. Those who suffer from this problem know how tough it is to keep on clearing the throat. Well, there are many possible reasons for the overproduction of phlegm after eating. 

So why exactly are you experiencing flem after eating?

Phlegm buildup is mostly caused due to food allergies, asthma, bronchitis, GERD, and consumption of food items that trigger mucus production. Phlegm after eating could be a sign of acid reflux or COPD or maybe your diet had triggered it.

Well, to know all about the causes and solutions of the production of flem after eating, read the whole article. 

What Is Phlegm? 

Phlegm (pronounced as flem) is the mucus of the respiratory system commonly known as sputum. You must be familiar with the terminology “mucus” because it is a normal protective fluid layer covering the passages. However, phlegm is something associated with inflammatory diseases. 

flem-after-eating

Phlegm is a juicy secretion similar to mucus and consists of bacterias, viruses, body cells, and cellular debris. Once it is coughed out, you can call it sputum. The color of phlegm varies and depends upon the constituents. It can be yellow, green, dark brown, and even clear sometimes which is normal and healthy.   

You must be wondering what phlegm is a sign of? Well, it is a sign of inflammation and excessive production can be due to several reasons such as allergies, asthma, dietary problems, and GERD. 

What Causes Throat Flem After Eating?

An excessive phlegm production must have made you tired of hocking a loogie. Well, you aren’t the only one experiencing excessive phlegm production! There are many reasons for excessive phlegm buildup but when it comes to diet, some foods can be given the title, “Phlegm-offenders.” 

throat-flem

Your diet and lung health play a significant role in phlegm production. Factors responsible for the production of flem after eating can be the consumption of spicy and oily food, chocolates, refined sugar, asthma, several allergies, and fried foods. The most important and common dietary and pathological factors that trigger phlegm production are addressed below,  

Phlegm After Eating Oily/ Spicy Food

Spicy food plays a significant role in clearing sinuses. It consists of a phytochemical called “capsaicin” which is responsible for the spiciness in chillis. It breaks down the mucus and eases the flow thereby leading to a runny nose. It relieves sore throat and clears out the sinuses. On the other hand, it also enhances the production of mucus. 

Oily foods act as a trigger for phlegm production because of two primary reasons. Oily foods are entirely fatty acids that melt the phlegm and enhance its production from the lungs. Moreover, they also cause acidity that directly causes coughing and itching in the throat. 

Phlegm After Eating Dairy Products

Most people believe that eating dairy products is the prime cause of excessive phlegm production but what if I burst a myth and reveal that science doesn’t back up this theory! Based on research, milk is found not guilty of causing phlegm build-up. In fact, scientifically there isn’t any connection between increased phlegm buildup and dairy products. 

The saliva and milk when mixed up in your mouth, combine to form a viscous liquid that coats the throat. This lingering sensation in the mouth and throat might make you believe that it’s phlegm. As in reality, it’s not! 

Phlegm After Eating Chocolate

Histamine is a vital secretion of the immune system which is produced by mast cells. An increased histamine level can also contribute to excessive phlegm buildup. Hence, you might experience flem after eating sugar, chocolates, sweets, refined sugar, and other foods.

Another reason is the increase in stomach acid after eating chocolates. This is because whenever you consume chocolates, a hormone called “serotonin” is released from the intestines which makes it easier for the acid to flow back into the esophagus. Hence, this causes gastroesophageal reflux and thereby an increase in the production of mucus. 

Phlegm After Eating Bread

Bread is made up of wheat that contains a compound called “gluten.” Foods containing gluten such as bread and pasta enhance the buildup of unhealthy mucous in the body and this is particularly common in people with gluten intolerance. 

Acid Reflux

One of the primary reasons for excess phlegm buildup is gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) or simply acid reflux. It is a disorder characterized by overproduction of acid in the stomach which bulges back into the esophagus and causes heartburn. In response to symptoms of acidity, the body starts producing more phlegm thereby increasing its production. 

In a condition called “laryngoesophageal reflux,” the acidic content travels up to the voice box. It is also known as silent reflux and is more liable to enhance flem production after eating. 

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in which the bronchi (conducting tubes in the lungs)  become severely inflamed. It is caused due to triggers such as pollens which enter the lungs and get attached to the alveoli thereby causing inflammation. 

asthma

As a result of inflammation, phlegm production is increased which causes smooth muscle spasms and narrowing of airways. In this way, the production of phlegm is increased in asthmatic patients. 

Other Reasons

Other reasons include dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing) which is associated with greenish mucus production with a specific odor. Moreover, different food allergies can also play a vital role in mucus production. All the food items you are allergic to will definitely initiate the inflammatory process with the production of histamine by mast cells. 

So, is it normal to get phlegm after eating? Well, getting phlegm is directly related to how sensitive you are towards certain foods. Spicy and oily foods are the major culprits of enhanced mucus secretion when it comes to food items followed by chocolates and sweets. 

Dietary Changes To Prevent Flem After Eating

The constant flem in your throat must be irritating and unpleasant. What if I say that to some extent, controlling phlegm production is in your hands? Yes! There are certain dietary changes you can make to control mucus production. However, in the case of diseases such as asthma, seeking professional advice is important, 

Anti-Mucus Diet

The easiest and most effective way of reducing mucus production is by making changes to your diet. Every person has their own different triggers but on a general basis, there is a list of what to eat and what not to. Following is a list of foods rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents:

Fruits

Cantaloupes, oranges, berries, pineapple, kiwi, and bananas can help you get rid of phlegm production. An enzyme called “bromelain” present in pineapple possesses anti-inflammatory properties and helps in reducing phlegm production. 

Vegetables 

Green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, garlic, onions, broccoli, bell peppers, and so many more vegetables can help in regulating mucus secretion. 

Omega-3-Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids in particularly omega-3-fatty acids can help in reducing phlegm production by decreasing the production of inflammatory chemicals in the lungs. The rich sources of omega-3-fatty acids are fish such as mackerel, tuna, and salmon, nuts such as walnuts, and seeds such as pumpkin and flaxseeds. 

omega-3-fatty-acid

Clear Soups

Warm and clear soups contribute to the loosening of nasal mucus and promote hydration. Hence, the consumption of warm fluids, teas, and soups can help in mucus regulation. 

Olive Oil

Olive oil consists of a compound called “oleocanthal” which due to its strong anti-inflammatory properties works well in removing the toxins from the body. So, it’s time to modify your kitchen by replacing butter/margarine with Olive oil.  

Herbs and Spices 

Many herbs and spices can help reduce mucus secretion. The effective ones include eucalyptus(works as an expectorant) and cardamon. Both of them contain “cineole” that works as an expectorant and help the patients with excess mucus buildup.

A Lung-healthy diet would not only decrease mucus production but will also help in breathing regulation. So, the consumption of an anti-mucus diet would help a lot in improving your lung health. This was all about the dietary changes to improve mucus regulation.  

Drink More Water

Drinking more water promotes hydration of the mucus thereby making it easier to flow through the passages. Water helps in the loosening of congestion and positively affects the lung-health. 

Avoid the Use of Acidic Products

Consumption of acidic products such as vinegar(acetic acid) can increase the chances of coughing after eating. So, eliminate the products which are the derivatives of acetic acid to improve the mucus regulation in your body. Moreover, vinegar also worsens the symptoms of GERD in a few people.  

Is Excess Mucus an Alarming Sign? 

Mucus has a lot to say about your health! Yes, the color of mucus and amount of secretion can tell if you’re suffering from an infection or any respiratory problem. An excessive phlegm production is usually considered abnormal as it can be because of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases or any inflammatory reaction. 

When it comes to removing phlegm, there are only two possible ways you can do that. Either you can swallow it or you can spit it. Both the ways are safe and pose zero dangers to the body. However, the swallowing of phlegm is often considered unhygienic and an ill-mannered act socially. 

FAQs

How to get rid of phlegm in the throat after eating? 

To get rid of flem after eating, try to avoid the triggers. These include spicy and oily foods, sweets, refined sugar, chocolates, and gluten-containing products. Making changes to your dietary lifestyle will make a huge difference.

Above all, stay hydrated and drink more water. Usage of herbs and spices and foods rich in omega-3-fatty acids can also help in the regulation of mucus secretion.

Is eating phlegm good or bad for you? 

Phlegm is your body’s own secretion which you can either swallow or spit out. In both cases, it remains safe and poses no health risks. When you swallow it, the stomach removes all the toxins and digests it normally.

Although socially, swallowing phlegm is considered unhygienic but in reality, it isn’t harmful to the body. So, mucus produced in normal ranges is vital for the body but overproduction creates difficulties in breathing. 

What foods increase mucus production?

Mucus production increases during inflammation when histamine level rises. Many food items increase mucus production such as oily foods, spicy foods, chocolates, sweets, and foods rich in gluten such as bread and pasta.

Other than these foods, mucus production also increases in COPD such as asthma. Moreover, acid reflux also leads to excess mucus production. 

Takeaway

All in all, experiencing flem after eating is mostly due to the triggering food items you consume. So, avoiding foods that trigger inflammation and histamine secretion can help you reduce excessive mucus production. 

In case of experiencing several other symptoms along with phlegm production, consult your doctor immediately. Find your triggers and stop their intake and boom! You’re free from the hassle of clearing the throat after every 5 minutes!

Mehrosh Ahmer

Mehrosh Ahmer

My name is Mehrosh Ahmer and I’m currently a student of MBBS at Jinnah Sindh Medical University. My passion for studying the wonder that is the human body and the desire to give back to my society has led me to pursue a career in medicine. As I research, I learn more about my field, and it improves my understanding. This is why I enjoy writing the articles so that more people might get to read about subjects that they otherwise might never encounter.

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