5 Useful Diet Recipes to Help Relieve Coughs

A bowl of congee.

Opt to eat bland and warm food. (Image: Travis Juntara via Flickr)

Coughing is a symptom that even doctors feel is worrying and troublesome. We suggest 5 useful diet recipes recommended by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to help relieve coughs. There are so many possible reasons and sources of coughs. As the saying goes: “Plumbers are afraid of dealing with leaks, and doctors are afraid of treating coughs.”

5 magical food remedies to help relieve coughs, phlegm, and colds

Diet 1: White rice porridge

Efficacy: Relieves coughs and asthma, anti-cold

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When coughing or catching a cold, a bowl of hot, white rice porridge is a straightforward and useful dietary remedy.

When cooking white rice porridge, the sticky stuff floating on top is the essence of the porridge. White rice porridge is a white food that can resolve coughing and asthma. Almost all white foods, such as white rice, lily, ginkgo, and bletilla, help the lungs.

Diet 2: Ginkgo millet congee

Efficacy: Relieves coughs and reduces phlegm

Millet flour — freshly ground ready for hand-processing to form it into rolled pellets for millet couscous or millet porridge recipes.
Millet flour — freshly ground ready for hand-processing to form it into rolled pellets for millet couscous or millet porridge recipes. (Image: T.K. Naliaka via Wikimedia Commons)

Take 1 oz (30 grams) of ginkgo fruit and 3.5 oz (100 grams) of millet, add 27 fluid oz (800c.c.) of water and a little crystal sugar, and boil it into a thick porridge in a pot to drink.

Ginkgo not only relieves coughing, but it also reduces phlegm. Li Shizhen, a famous Chinese medicine practitioner, once mashed ginkgo to wash greasy dishes and made them spotless.

Diet 3: Salt-roasted oranges

Efficacy: Relieves coughing

Salt-roasted oranges are also a good remedy for coughs. Remove the orange peel, sprinkle a little salt on the exposed orange flesh, then cover the oranges with the orange peel again and bake them in the oven.

Salt-roasted oranges are also a good remedy for coughs.
Salt-roasted oranges are also a good remedy for coughs. (Image: via Pixabay)

People traditionally put oranges in a wood stove to bake, which is a better way of doing things. But now it is not easy to find a stove. You can use an oven instead.

Diet 4: Sugar-steamed oranges

Efficacy: Relieves coughs and reduces phlegm

You can steam oranges with sugar. After peeling the oranges, separate each segment, put them in a bowl, sprinkle a little rock sugar over them, and simmer in a pot. Both sugar-steamed oranges and salt-roasted oranges have a slightly bitter taste, but the taste with sugar will be sweeter, and sweetness can reduce phlegm. This recipe helps to dissolve phlegm in the trachea, and it reduces cough symptoms.

Diet 5: Steamed pear with crystal sugar

Efficacy: Relieves coughs and reduces phlegm

The prescription I used to treat coughing when I was young was steamed pears with rock sugar.
The prescription I used to treat coughing when I was young was steamed pears with rock sugar. (Image: via Nspirement)

The prescription I used to treat coughing when I was young was steamed pears with rock sugar. Cut the top off the pear, dig out the pips inside, sprinkle a little rock sugar, close the lid, and steam it in an electric pot. After cooking, the skin can be peeled off with a gentle rub, and then eat the white pear flesh. Rock sugar can reduce phlegm and makes it easier to cough up.

When the seasons change, the weather is sometimes hot and sometimes cold, and children are more likely to catch colds. You can try steamed pears with crystal sugar.

A word of caution about asthma

I want to remind everyone that if the coughing is caused by asthma, eating rock sugar and stewed pears will make it worse. This method cannot be used when coughing up white, bubble-like, watery sputum.

According to ancient Chinese medicine, “all the organs can cause coughs.” There are corresponding coughs associated with and caused by the internal organs, such as liver cough, spleen cough, heart cough, and the most common cough caused by the stomach and lungs. Finding the cause of the cough in the stomach and lungs can usually cure the disease.

“Plumbers are afraid of dealing with leaks, and doctors are afraid of treating coughs.”

The stomach failing to send digested food downward and the spleen in dampness are the original causes of phlegm and coughing. Besides, the lungs lose their cleansing effect, and coughs can occur at this time. Coughing for a long time is called “chronic coughing.”

To prevent the coughs, stay away from three things

First: Stay away from excessive wind, fire, dampness, dryness, and cold.

Some people like to use an electric fan when it is hot, and they like the feeling of wind blowing on their body; excessive blowing is terrible for the body. Some people like a warm environment and they like to go to a sauna. As a result, the body is exposed to excessive heat, which is also harmful.

Second: Stay away from or reduce the intake of certain foods, such as raw oranges, bananas, duck meat, and ice. It is best not to overeat them. When you cough, do not eat waxed apples, watermelon, mango, pineapple, or cantaloupe.

Third: Stay away from smoking and second-hand, passive smoke.

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