Do’s & Don’ts


Foods to avoid in phlegm conditions:

  • Excessive raw fresh food: too many raw vegetables and fruit.
  • Cold food: like raw food, cold food increases phlegm production therefor it is recommended to eat foods at room temperature or warmer.
  • Cold drinks: icy drinks, soft drinks, sweetened drinks, juices.
  • Flours of different kinds: white and whole wheat flour, pasta, spaghetti and noodles, challah, flat breads, cakes and cookies, pastries and croissants.
  • Sweet foods: sugar, chocolates, popsicles and ice cream, being the worst.
  • Dairy products: cow’s/ sheep’s / goat’s milk, hot chocolate, cheese, dairy treats and butter.
  • Peanuts: peanut based treats, peanut butter.
  • Bananas, oranges and orange juice, pineapples, mangoes, watermelons.
  • Refined oils: margarine, Trans fats.
  • Fried foods: fried potatoes, schnitzel and any other fried food.
  • Industrial, processed foods.
  • Rich complex meals with a large variety of foods in combinations difficult for digestion.
  • Late night eating.
  • Over eating.

General recommendations for strengthening digestion and treating phlegm:

  1. Temperature: the food should be cooked and served hot!
  2. Regularity: it is important to create and maintain regularity of eating habits and eat at the same hours.
  3. Simplicity: to make digestion easier, the meal should contain just a few elements, not contradictory in their qualities. Nutrition can be diverse throughout the week but there’s no need to vary a single meal.
  4. Drinking: it is not recommended to drink right before, during or after a meal. It is possible to drink a few sips if necessary but at least, reduce drinking when eating. Abundant drinking at these times, damages the digestive process. If there is thirst close to the time of eating, it is better to drink hot water or tea, like is customary in many cultures.
  5. If drinking while eating cannot be avoided – drink a small amount in small sips. It is better to drink during or after eating a meal than right before eating.

Recommended foods for strengthening digestion and treating phlegm in children:

  1. Carbohydrates – from the most drying to the gentle moistener:
  • Millet: highly drying. Good for treatment of phlegm in the respiratory system. Cook as a cereal or in soups.
  • Buckwheat: dries dampness. Suitable for conditions of abundant runny phlegm.
  • Pearl barley.
  • Quinoa: drying but difficult for children to digest.
  • Brown basmati rice: drying but difficult for children to digest.
  • White basmati rice or aged white basmati rice: suitable for young children.
  • Bulgur
  • Semolina
  • Oatmeal: a gentle moistener. Not suitable for children with conditions of abundant phlegm.
  • 50% whole spelt bread: eat toasted.
  1. Animal protein and eggs: cooked, up to once or twice a day (chicken, turkey or fish) in small quantities, preferably ground and cooked as a cutlet. Scrambled egg.
  2. Well-cooked legumes: lentils or green mung beans cooked until pureed (like in Indian style dahl).
  3. Cooked vegetables: onion, garlic, celery root, parsley root, turnip, beetroot, pumpkin, butternut squash, cabbage, zucchini, kohlrabi, sweet potato, Jerusalem artichoke, green peas, green beans, fennel, leek, celery, broccoli.
  4. Recommended oils:
  • For cooking: light cold pressed, sesame oil.
  • For seasoning: cold pressed olive oil.
  • Additional fats are tahini and almond butter, diluted with water to a liquid, sauce like consistency.

Since oils create dampness and phlegm, usage should be measured and moderate.

  1. Nuts and seeds: it is possible to add to the food roasted pumpkin seeds as seasoning or roasted sesame seeds in the form of Gomashio.
  2. Fruit: cooked as compote of apples, pears and dried fruit or oven baked fruit.
  3. Raw fruit: one a day, apple or pear.
  4. Sweets: a small amount of dried fruit like organic dried apricot as a treat, homemade sugar and flour free granola cookies.
  5. Spices: turmeric, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, fresh and dried ginger, freshly grated citrus zest, hyssop, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary and black pepper.
  6. Drinks: lukewarm water, tea from infusion of herbs with drying qualities like thyme, sage, cardamom pod, cinnamon, micromeria, lemon grass and lemon verbena.
  7. Salt: use rock or sea salt, miso or umeboshi in small quantities.
  8. Sweeteners: the safest to use in damp and phlegm conditions is unheated honey, in hard consistency.
  9. Spreads for toasts: olive oil and za’atar (ground dried hyssop), olive oil and gomashio (sesame and salt mixture), diluted white tahini with lemon and spices, homemade pesto, homemade legume spread.

Example lunch menu for a child with a phlegm condition:

  • Cooked grain
  • Chicken, turkey or cooked legumes.
  • Cooked vegetables.
  • Herbal tea.

Breakfast and supper options for a child with a phlegm condition:

  • Oatmeal or oatmeal and millet cereal.
  • Steamed vegetables.
  • Scrambled egg.
  • Cooked grain.
  • Toast with a spread.

What else contributes to the formation of dampness?

Exposure to cold: walking barefooted, being with a wet diaper for a long period of time, insufficient clothing in cold weather, getting wet from rain, going outside with wet hair and uncovered head, strong winds.

In conclusion, reasonable abstention from damp foods and maintaining a nutrition based on grains, cooked vegetables, legumes and small quantities of protein and oils, usually generates a dramatic positive change in the child’s condition. In chronic or complex cases, it is advised to seek professional assistance.

For part 1 of this article, Nutritional Phlegm Treatment in children, press here.

The information shown above is not a medical advice.


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