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Elder Care Awareness: Could Dairy Foods Be Causing Your Seniors' Respiratory Issues?

Elder Care in Stuart, FL

Elder Care in Stuart FLIf chronic respiratory issues such as sinus infections, phlegmy cough, COPD, or runny nose are a part of daily life for your elderly loved ones, you might have had people recommend that you seniors stop eating dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt because milk may increase respiratory symptoms. The common conception is that milk causes the body to produce mucus, clogging the sinuses and the lungs, and holding on to the bacteria and allergens that cause further problems in the body.

This can sound like a drastic dietary change if your parents are accustomed to eating a considerable amount of dairy foods, especially if taking these foods out of their diet will not actually make a difference for their respiratory health.

So what is the truth? Should you eliminate dairy products so that your parents can breathe more easily and feel more comfortable? Or should you go ahead and soothe their throat with a bowl of ice cream at the end of the day?

The answer is somewhat complicated. Studies have shown that consuming milk products does not actually cause the body to produce more mucus. This means that whether your parents eat dairy products or not, their bodies are going to have the same amount of mucus in their lungs and respiratory systems. The issue comes with what the affect that the dairy products actually do have on the mucus that exists in the body. The same studies have indicated that consumption of dairy products is linked to thickening of the mucus.

Thickened mucus makes your sinuses feel stuffy and is much more difficult for your body to expel. Mucus serves a variety of important functions in your body, including catching dirt, dust, germs, and bacteria so that they do not make their way into your lungs. The body then forces this mucus out of the body through sneezing, coughing, or swallowing. Thick mucus is much more difficult to get out of the body, giving the contaminants more of a chance to get into the body and cause illness.

Fortunately there are ways that you can counteract the thickening of the mucus and still allow your body to expel it properly to avoid illness. These resolutions can also help to ease the respiratory difficulties that have made you contemplate eliminating dairy products in the first place. One of the most effective ways that you can accomplish this is drinking plenty of water in order to thin the mucus and make it easier to move through your body. Sparkling water in particular helps with this process because the carbonation loosens the mucus, but be cautious using sparkling water excessively because studies have indicated that consuming large amounts of carbonation can contribute to calcium leaching out of the bones, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.

If your seniors have been dealing with respiratory issues, get in touch with their doctor to find out if there are dietary and lifestyle changes that you can make to help them cope with these uncomfortable problems effectively.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Stuart, FL, contact the caring staff at BrightStar Care of Jupiter. Call today (561) 741-1200.