6 Foods to Avoid During Cough



Coughing is a reflex that the body uses to clear mucus from the airways. Allergies, infections, or respiratory issues can cause it. Coughing expels foreign particles, bacteria, irritants, fluids, and mucus from the throat and breathing route. While some coughs indicate dangerous illnesses, most resolve without treatment. Viruses and bacteria benefit from causing coughs to spread. Respiratory tract illnesses often link to uncontrollable coughing.

This article will discuss the types of coughs, foods to avoid during cough, and foods that can help relieve the symptoms.

Types of Cough:

There are several sorts of coughs, each with its features and underlying reasons. You may choose your diet more intelligently if you know what kind of cough you are dealing with.

  • Dry Cough: A dry cough is often non-productive and does not produce mucus. Throat irritation, post-nasal drip, or respiratory infections can cause it. Dry coughs can be particularly uncomfortable, and certain foods can worsen the symptoms.
  • Wet or Productive Cough: Mucus or phlegm accompany a damp or productive cough. Its function is to remove irritants and extra mucus from the airways. This particular form of cough frequently occurs with respiratory diseases like the common cold or bronchitis.

Foods to Avoid During Cough

There are no specific foods that cause coughing. Dietary choices can exacerbate cough symptoms and make you more uncomfortable. Knowing which foods to avoid during cough can keep some of the discomfort associated with a cough at bay.

  • Dairy Products: This is food that cause coughing symptoms and makes breathing more difficult. If you're experiencing a cough, it's best to avoid dairy products temporarily. Dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt, can increase mucus production and make it thicker.
  • Cold Beverages: Cold drinks, including iced water, sodas, and chilled juices, can irritate the throat and are considered food that cause coughing.  Switch to warm or room-temperature fluids instead. Warm water or herbal teas can help soothe the throat and provide relief.
  • Alcoholic and caffeinated drinks: They can bring on dehydration. Dehydration can dry up the throat and make it more sensitive to irritation, increasing coughing. It is advisable to limit or avoid these beverages until your cough subsides.
  • Sugary Foods: Consuming sugar-rich foods like sweets, drinks, and candies can erode the immune system and exacerbate coughing symptoms. Inflammation brought on by sugar might hinder the body's ability to mend. These are foods to avoid during cough.
  • Fried and Processed Foods: Fried snacks, fast food, and processed meals often contain unhealthy fats and additives. These foods can be inflammatory and hinder the body's natural healing process. Opt for healthier alternatives such as grilled or baked foods, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
  • Spicy Foods: Spicy foods can irritate the throat and trigger coughing in some individuals. Temporarily reduce or avoid spices like chilli peppers, hot sauces, and spicy curries until your cough subsides.

What to Eat in Cough:

While you should avoid certain foods, others can help alleviate cough symptoms and support recovery. Including these foods can provide essential nutrients and compounds that aid healing.

  • Warm fluids: Drinking warm water, herbal teas, and clear broths can help relieve the throat. Warm fluids help hydrate the body and reduce throat irritation. Consider ginger tea, chamomile tea, or chicken soup for added comfort.
  • Honey: Honey has natural antibacterial and soothing properties. It can help alleviate cough symptoms and provide temporary relief. If you are wondering what to eat in cough, or drink, add a teaspoon of honey to warm water or herbal teas and enjoy a comforting drink.
  • Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, which supports the immune system; this is the ultimate superfood and the answer to ‘What to eat in cough?’ They help alleviate throat irritation and provide relief. Squeeze fresh citrus juice into warm water or enjoy the whole fruit.
  • Ginger and garlic: These spices have antibacterial qualities that might help lower inflammation. Add freshly crushed garlic to soups, stir-fries, or herbal teas to include in your meals. You can add grated ginger hot water for additional advantages.
  • Warm milk with turmeric: Curcumin, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, is a component of turmeric. Warm milk with a dash of turmeric helps ease coughs and has extra advantages. Before bed, sip this soothing beverage to ensure a restful night's sleep.
  • Steamy foods: Including steamy foods in your diet can relieve a cough. Soups, stews, and steamed vegetables can help moisturize the airways, reduce congestion, and soothe the throat. The warmth and moisture from these foods can alleviate discomfort and make breathing easier.


Although a cough seldom hurts, it can annoy or distract other people, and the exertion of coughing might make you feel tired and achy. An occasional cough is typical and unproblematic, but one that persists for a few weeks or more or produces bloody or discolored mucus might indicate a medical illness.

Cough medications are usually only used for severe, disruptive, acute coughs that do not coincide with potentially life-threatening symptoms. You may be able to treat the symptoms of a cough using over-the-counter cough and cold medications like cough syrups and cough suppressants. Evidence shows these medications are no more effective than placebos. Your doctor may recommend an antibiotic or antiviral medicine if an infection is the root of your cough. When dealing with a cough, being mindful of your diet can support your recovery and relieve symptoms.


Duration of dietary restrictions during a cough?

The duration of dietary restrictions during a cough varies based on individual health conditions and the severity of the cough. Generally, it's advisable to avoid certain foods until the cough subsides or as advised by a healthcare professional.

Differential dietary recommendations for dry versus wet coughs?

Dietary recommendations differ for dry and wet coughs. For instance, individuals with dry coughs are often advised to avoid dairy products, cold beverages, and spicy foods, while those with wet coughs may benefit from warm fluids, honey, and citrus fruits to alleviate symptoms.

Impact of specific foods on cough symptoms in individuals with health conditions?

Specific foods can exacerbate cough symptoms in individuals with certain health conditions. For example, dairy products may increase mucus production, while sugary foods can weaken the immune system, hindering the body's ability to recover from a cough. Consulting a healthcare provider can provide tailored dietary recommendations based on individual health needs.