Laryngitis is an inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the larynx. The larynx houses the vocal cords and they are often involved, leaving the sufferer with a hoarseness or a temporary loss of voice. The condition may or may not be painful. Treatment is dependent on the underlying cause; dietary factors can sometimes provide improvement. While many cases resolve on their own, severe or chronic laryngitis should be evaluated by a health care professional.
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Types of Laryngitis
Laryngitis is often due to a respiratory virus, such as a cold or influenza. It can also be the result of singing, screaming or speaking loudly for an extended period of time. Inhaled substances such as cigarette smoke and paint thinner can cause laryngitis. Chronic alcohol abuse is sometimes to blame. Finally, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is implicated when acid from the stomach chronically irritates the larynx, explains Drugs.com.
Good Food Choices
Fruits and vegetables provide vitamin C and can play a helpful role when laryngitis is due to infection. Protein foods such as lean beef, chicken, fish and pork give the body the building blocks to fight the infection in the form of protein and zinc. A healthy diet containing all food groups helps keep the immune system functioning properly, so be sure to include not only fruits, vegetables and protein in your diet, but also low-fat milk, whole grains and healthy oils. Laryngitis due to GERD may respond to a bland diet of foods boiled or baked without grease or spices.
Good Beverage Choices
Increased fluid intake is important, regardless of the cause of the laryngitis, because the mucous membranes should remain moist. Water is the ideal beverage but other good choices include skim milk or 1/4 strength apple juice. Try to keep a drink with you at all times and sip it regularly.
Food and Beverages to Avoid
If your laryngitis is due to GERD, avoid spicy, oily and acidic foods, such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, onions, peppers and fried fish. Avoid heavy meals and eating close to bedtime. Regardless of the cause of your laryngitis, avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages while your larynx is healing because they dehydrate you.