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Cold and Flu Center

Food Often Seems to Make Me Cough

author image Diane Marks
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Food Often Seems to Make Me Cough
Coughing after eating may be the result of various conditions.

Coughing is a reflex that occurs whenever your throat is irritated. It may occur after eating certain foods. Some digestive conditions, related to eating food, may trigger coughing and other symptoms. Oral allergy syndrome, food allergies, gastroesophageal reflux disease and throat infection may all trigger coughing spells after eating food. A cough that occurs often and doesn’t go away is a condition that needs to be evaluated by your doctor. Avoid over-the-counter medications until you can be seen by your doctor.

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Oral Allergy Syndrome

Oral allergy syndrome can cause throat irritation and itching to occur in your throat after eating fresh fruits, vegetables and some nuts. This condition is more common among people who suffer from allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever. Symptoms may include itching or swelling of the mouth, lips, throat or tongue. The symptoms of this condition are caused by cross-reactivity between certain pollens that you’re allergic to and proteins found in some foods. For example, if you’re allergic to inhaled birch pollen, you may develop throat irritation after eating plums, apples, peaches, almonds, walnuts and peppers, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

General Food Allergy

A general food allergy can cause irritation to your throat or cause allergic asthma symptoms to develop, which leads to coughing. After you consume food that triggers an allergic reaction in your body, various chemicals are released that cause inflammation in soft tissue. A common symptom of a food allergy is inflammation of the lungs and airways, called allergic asthma. This condition causes coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The most common foods that trigger an allergic reaction include wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and fish, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, more commonly called GERD, is a chronic condition that causes repetitive bouts of heartburn and indigestion. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse states that if you develop heartburn more than twice a week, you’re considered to have GERD. Coughing is a common symptom of this digestive condition that may be managed through a modified diet.

Throat Infection

If your throat is infected with a bacteria or virus, you may find yourself coughing excessively after eating certain foods. Some foods, such as acidic foods, spicy foods, caffeinated beverages and alcohol can all irritate the lining of your esophagus, while you have a throat infection. The irritation will lead to coughing as a reflex.

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