Which Foods Can Cause Nasal Congestion?

Woman blowing her nose
Which Foods Can Cause Nasal Congestion? (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Nasal congestion occurs when nasal tissues swell due to inflammation of the blood vessels; it is often exacerbated by excess mucus production. This condition can have a variety of causes: allergies, viral illnesses, hay fever, sinusitis or negative reactions to medications. Food allergies are a common cause of nasal congestion, and there are several typical culprits. If you are experiencing chronic nasal congestion, consider trying a non-mucus forming diet by eliminating certain foods.

Refined Sugar

close-up of a man's hand sprinkling sugar on a bowl of cereal
Refined sugar (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

According to Dr. Steve Windley, the consumption of refined sugar causes harmful bacteria to proliferate in the body, resulting in nasal congestion. Reduce your consumption of chocolate, soda, candy, pastries and other foods high in refined sugar to decrease nasal congestion symptoms.

Dairy Products

Mature woman reading milk label in supermarket, side view, close-up
Dairy Products (Image: Noel Hendrickson/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Dairy products contain casein, a mucus-forming agent. It is the dominant protein in milk and other dairy items. Foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream and butter all contain casein. It has a glue-like texture and histamine-creating properties, both of which cause increased mucus production and nasal congestion.

Gluten

Golden wheat field, close-up
Wheat (Image: Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Wheat, oats, rye, barley and spelt contain gluten, a sticky and tough mixture of the plant proteins gliadin and glutenin. Undigested gluten acts as an irritant to the body, increasing mucus production and resulting in nasal congestion.

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