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July 31, 2017
By Susan Callahan, Contributing Columnist
Dealing with mucus is not pleasant, certainly. But if you can get over
the natural repulsion, you'll find that paying attention to this particular
body fluid can real health benefits. What makes mucus yellow or dark
or green? Are any of these conditions serious?
Mucus, a viscous, slimy substance, is a natural body fluid. Mucus
contains water, ions, and macromolecules. These macromolecules are
healing and protective and are rich in substances that destroy or inhibit
bacteria and viruses. These macromolecules also are anti-oxidants,
fighting internal inflammation, a precondition of many chronic diseases
such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis, cancer and even Alzheimer's.
The tissues of the body naturally and continually produces mucus to
avoid drying out. You are aware of the mucus produced in your throat,
sinuses and nasal passages. But most of your body's mucus is
produced in your intestines, lining the intestinal walls Other mucus is
found in your lungs where again it acts as a natural barrier against
bacterial and viral infection. In fact, it is the absence of mucus that
makes lungs exposed to dry indoor winter heating so vulnerable to
Why Is Mucus Yellow?
The natural color of mucus free of infection actually is not white or
clear. All mucus contains enzymes inside of macrophages that fight
infection. One of these enzymes is called "Myeloperoxidase". This is the
enzyme that gives mucus a tint of green. Depending on the amount in
the enzyme and the amount of water in your mucus, the resulting mix
can range in color from nearly clear to yellow or yellow-greenish.
If your body is fighting an infection, it sends more of the enzyme-rich
macrophages to help. This in turn can make mucus even deeper green,
or deeper yellow or murky.
Here are the most effective natural remedies to help keep your body's
mucus system healthy:
1. Drink Enough of Water to Improve Mucus Color
Water is important to mucus production and color. Severe dehydration
can rob your body of the water it needs to produce sufficient mucus
and eroding its ability to fight infection.
A 2014 study from Keio University inJapan examined how dehydration
affected the immune systems of 15 female soccer players. Before and
after a 90-minute match, levels of infection-fighting phagocytes were
measured. After the match players were divided in to groups of those
who were just mildly dehydrated and those who were severely
dehydrated. What the scientists found is that the amount of phagocytic
activity --- infection fighting phagocytes such as those found in mucus
--- were far lower in the players who were severely dehydrated.
Unfortunately, many of us walk around dehydrated. Although water
consumption is trending up, we Americans only drink 58 gallons o
water a day, according to industry data. That works out to be only
around 2.5 cups per day.
2. Change the Color of Mucus By Lowering Infection with Garlic
As we have seen, infection recruits more enzyme-rich macrophages to
your mucus, turning it a color closer to deep yellow or green. Lowering
levels of infection can change mucus color.
In addition to taking whatever medications you are prescribed to fight
infection, you should also discuss with your doctor the possibility of
using natural anti-microbial foods and herbs. Garlic is a powerful
anti-bacterial herb. When garlic is crushed, the cloves release powerful
organosulfur compounds, called allicin, ayogen and dialyll sulfides,
according to a 2010 study from Washington State University. These
compounds are not only anti-microbial , they also enhance the
effectiveness of antibiotics, other studies have found.
Aim to include two cloves of garlic, three times per week in your diet.
Add crushed garlic paste to soups, spread it on toast, chicken, and
Don't like the way garlic smells, consider taking a garlic supplement. As
always, make your doctor aware that you are taking garlic, especially if
you are also on blood-thinning medications or other heart or
3. Horseradish Fights Infection Naturally
Horseradishes are not a widely eaten vegetable anymore in the US. In
Europe, especially in France, you'll find that radishes are a common
part of the diet.
Horseradishes contain allyl isothiocyanate, a powerful anti-microbial. A
2013 study from Gangneung-Wonju National University found that
horseradish was the most powerful anti-microbial tested against
bacteria found in your mouth. Horseradish killed 6 strains o bacteria
and a strain of candida yeast, Specifically, it killed candida albicans,
Fusobacterium nucleatum, Prevotella nigrescens, and Clostridium
Use horseradish to fight sinus infections. You can breathe the vapors of
horseradish boiled in water to lower infection levels in mucus. Add
grated horseradish to hummus or sauces when you need to add a little
"heat" to your dishes.
4. Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Clear Up Mucus
We humans have long used vinegar as a disinfectant and healing liquid.
The Father of Modern Medicine, Hippocrates, used vinegar to disinfect
wounds as early as 420 B.C. The legendary queen Cleopatra of Egypt is
said to have used a potion of pearls dissolved in vinegar.
Use a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water as a gargle to
fight infection. Rinse your teeth with water afterwards to avoid damage
to tooth enamel.
5. Sauerkraut, a Natural Probiotic, Boosts Immune System
The science behind the use of probiotics is becoming more solid. Our
intestines are home to between 500 and 1000 species of bacteria which
are with us from the moment we descend through the birth canal.
These probiotic bacteria improve the body's digestion, help the body to
fight chronic inflammation, obesity and infection. These bacteria are
found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut.
The problem is that as a nation, we are not heavy consumers of
fermented foods anymore. Now, we have to make a conscious choice to
seek out these foods to add to the head count of "good" bacteria in our
6. Honey Is a Natural Anti-Bacterial Food
Honey was used to dress battlefield wounds of soldiers in the first
World War. Honey has been used as a natural antibacterial food fro
centuries. Add raw honey to teas and use it instead of artificial
7. Carrots, Yes, Carrots Can Improve Mucus Color
Carrots are a prebiotic food, meaning that they are is the type of food
that the good, probiotic bacteria that inhabit your gut like to eat.
Adding a raw carrot to your diet every day or so can improve your
immune system and fight the infections that color your mucus. Carrots
are rich in beta carotene, which increases natural killer cells in your
8. Vitamin C, the Master Anti-oxidant
Vitamin C is unlike other vitamins. All vitamins are vital nutrients.
Vitamin C is different in that it is an enabler, improving the anti-oxidant
capacity of all the other vitamins and anti-oxidants in your body. They
say a rising tide lifts all boats. In that way, Vitamin C is the great rising
tide in your body, lifting the performance of all other nutrients in your
body. For this reason, many scientists think of Vitamin C as a master
Whenever you feel ill or you see that your mucus is too yellow or green
or dark, add Vitamin C to your diet.
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|Using horseradish in your food
can clear up mucus.