Which Foods Are Good or Bad for a Cough?

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Recovering as quickly as possible is always your main goal when you are down with a cough. To this end, you promptly take the medicine for cough with phlegm and other medications as prescribed by your doctor. You also try to get more rest since taking it easy is crucial to beating your cough.

Following a proper diet while sick is also essential to getting better faster. A healthy diet will help you to recover from coughs because you will be giving your body the nutrients it needs to continue functioning properly and perform at its best.

Cough-Fighting Diet

Eating certain foods will help give you comfort as you deal with your cough. Conversely, avoiding some foods will reduce the inflammation and throat spasms that trigger coughing. This will help you lower mucus production as well.

Foods That Are Good for a Person with a Cough

Below are the five foods you should eat more of if you are nursing a cough:

  1. Honey

Honey is a traditional remedy for coughs. It has been proven effective in providing relief not only for coughs, but for colds and sore throats as well.

To reduce coughing, take one spoonful of honey. This will relieve the tickle in the back of your throat, thereby preventing the sensation of coughing.

Aside from eating it straight, add honey to warm herbal tea or water with lemon.

This will help ease symptoms, including sore throat.

  1. Pineapple

Pineapples are rich in bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme. Bromelain has been proven helpful in suppressing coughs and loosening mucus. It can soothe a sore throat as well.

Pineapples are also amazing sources of vitamin C. When you boost your intake of this particular vitamin, you strengthen your immune system. As a result, you help your body heal faster and lower your chances of getting sick again.

To experience these benefits, eat raw, fresh pineapples.

  1. Cranberry

Cranberries are rich in polyphenols. These are micronutrients packed with antioxidants that help the body improve its immune system and stay in an anti-inflammatory state.

Additionally, they help lower your risk for certain diseases.

You can enjoy these healthy phytonutrients by consuming different types of cranberry products which include fresh, dried, canned, or frozen. You can also add them to your favorite dishes or eat them as snacks.

  1. Comfort foods

A soft, slippery or wet diet will help ease your throat’s discomfort while you have a cough. Soft foods won’t irritate your throat either. As such, eating them won’t cause you to cough too much.

Some examples of comfort foods you need to stock up on are:


  • Chicken soup
  • Jell-O
  • Pudding
  • Oatmeal
  • Applesauce
  1. Clear liquids

Water, herbal tea, and broths are the best liquids to consume when you have a cough. These go down easy in your throat and won’t irritate it.

Additionally, clear liquids are more effective in keeping you hydrated. This will help you expel phlegm from your body, which will hasten your recovery.

Both warm and cold clear liquids will soothe your throat and symptoms so you can choose between the two based on your preference.

Foods That Are Bad for a Person with a Cough

Here are the five food products you have to avoid when you have a cough:

  1. Dairy products

Dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt, can stimulate mucus production in the lungs and throat. Because of this, eating and drinking these food products will delay your recovery from cough.

While nursing a cough, it is best to eliminate dairy from your diet first.

  1. Juies and citrus fruits

Fruit juices have a high sugar content that tends to reduce the ability of white blood cells to fight illness.

On the other hand, citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits, contain citric acid which can cause acid reflux that can lead to throat irritation, triggering the cough.

If you want to eat fruits while feeling under the weather, choose ones with high water content such as pineapple, apple, and watermelon.

  1. Processed foods

Processed or refined foods like pasta and white bread, baked goods, and packaged snacks contain a lot of unhealthy ingredients and preservatives that do nothing good for you. Keep in mind that poor nutrition will inhibit your immune system, which will suppress its vital functions.

If you want to get better as soon as possible, replace processed foods with natural, healthier options. Go for fresh fruits and vegetables and other less refined food products.

  1. Fried and hard foods

Fried foods, including chicken and French fries, are oily. Oil is a mucus aggravator and has been known to inflame tracts. Additionally, fried foods can weaken your immune system.

Also, fried foods tend to be hard. If your cough is accompanied by a sore throat, you will have a hard time swallowing hard foods, which also include toast and popcorn. These types of food may scratch and irritate your throat.  

If you want to get rid of your cough faster, remove fried and hard foods from your diet while you are sick.

  1. Beverages with caffeine and alcohol

Coffee, alcoholic beverages, and sodas dehydrate your body instead of rehydrating it. They also act as mild diuretics and, as such, can cause fluid loss.

When you are dehydrated, your dry throat will be irritated further, causing you to cough even more. As such, you have to stay clear of these beverages and stick to water and other clear fluids.

Having the right diet is an essential element of a good cough management plan. Follow the list above to ensure that you will be consuming the right foods and beverages that will help you overcome your illness as quickly as possible.