Milk–Mucus Connection May Be a Myth

It’s time to wipe away the long-held belief that milk increases mucus production: the New York Times reported that researchers haven’t found strong ties between milk and a runny nose. For example, in a ten-day study, researchers infected 60 volunteers with the common cold who then drank zero to eleven glasses of milk daily. It turned out that there were no significant differences in measurements of cold symptoms, including cough, congestion, or nasal secretions, between milk-drinkers and non-milk drinkers.

So, is dairy worthy of its reputation? According to at least one study, it might not be the only beverage that triggers the sensation of increased mucus. The randomized study assigned 169 participants to drink either a chocolate-mint flavored cow’s milk or a similarly flavored soy milk. Participants couldn’t distinguish between the drinks, and said both milks made their saliva thicker and increased the coating on their tongue and in their mouth and throat. The researchers concluded that the sensation was not specific to cow’s milk.

While milk may not be to blame for overabundant mucus production, that doesn’t mean you have to start chugging it when you have a cold. If eliminating cow’s milk (or soy milk, for that matter) helps you feel better, don’t drink it, says Dr. Sonali Bose, assistant professor at Icahn School of Medicine. Just be aware that eliminating certain foods from your diet may cause nutritional gaps. Milk, for example, is a good source of protein and calcium, so if you want to cut it out of your diet, make sure you replace it with other protein- and calcium-rich foods.

Source: New York Times

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