Staying strong and building our immune system is very important at all times, but with COVID-19 spreading around us, paying attention to our respiratory health is more crucial than ever. COVID-19 challenges our immunity, putting a heavy strain on respiratory health with symptoms such as cough, fever, and in more serious cases, difficulty breathing, pneumonia and severe pulmonary issues.

Having recently come out of a two-month long respiratory illness myself that ended in pleurisy, I experienced first-hand what may trigger symptoms and what can promote clearer breathing. While strengthening our immune system and improving our overall health is pivotal, reducing the factors that may be compromising our lung capacity is essential in these difficult times.


One of the biggest environmental triggers for respiratory issues and immune response is mold. Mold can be found in bathroom corners, kitchen sinks, washing machines or basements just to name a few hot spots. Whether it is visible or not, mold can cause pulmonary and sinus problems. It is a fungus that reproduces through spores and when airborne and inhaled it can be a major inflammatory trigger for many people. Mold spores also produce mycotoxins which are secondary toxins that can cause further issues such as hypersensitivity, allergy, sore throat, itchy nose, difficulty breathing as well as worsening asthmatic symptoms - all which can play into the hands of the virus that’s going around.


While some foods are high in histamine, others cause histamine release. Either way, if histamine is not broken down by our body, it can trigger digestive and immune reactions, one of them being more mucus in our system. Beer, wine, fermented foods, vinegar, mature cheeses, nuts, shellfish, smoked or processed meats, cocoa & chocolate and beans are some of these foods.

Gluten and grains can be difficult for our body to digest. They can increase intestinal permeability and inflammation, and trigger an autoimmune response as they pass through our system. As such our bodies can produce more mucus, increasing our chances to develop coughs and sinus problems. Wheat, as a major source of gluten, is also often contaminated with mycotoxins.