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List of the Worst Foods for the Lymphatic System: Mucus-Forming Foods to Avoid

“All fruits, raw or cooked; also nuts and green-leaf vegetables are mucus-free.” – Arnold Ehret

Consuming alkaline foods is the most effective long-term investment when it comes to your lymphatic system and immunity! 

Here is an overview of the worst foods for the lymphatic system as well as advice for the healthiest diet for the body from one of the most revolutionary naturopath healers that have graced our planet – Arnold Ehret

As Ehret came to know, the truth about how to stay healthy is in the results – or the health outcomes of the many individuals that saw tremendous healing powers of the mucus-less – or alkaline – diet!


The Origin of Arnold Ehret’s Mucusless Diet


If you have never heard of Arnold Ehret’s mucusless diet protocol, it is essential you do now! Ehret was a German naturopath (1866-1922) who was sick all his life and after doctors couldn’t help him, he made it his life’s mission to try out every healing protocol popular during his time and travel to various far-away places to undergo long-term regimens.

He tried all types of healing methods unsuccessfully or with minimal results but finally found that an all-fruit diet and fasting were able to cure his chronic ailments. Using the same diet, his own friend who came along with him and who was afflicted with a stutter, was able to cure the condition as well!

This revelation of the power of fruit and fasting for healing turned Ehret to the art of healing, and he began studying natural wellness and helping others with his newfound knowledge.

In time, he founded his own sanatoriums, where he cured thousands of people with his mucusless diet protocol. He could have led a long life helping many more people and leaving an even greater legacy if it wasn’t for an accident that took his life early in his 50s.

The most telling part of Ehret’s success is that he applied his knowledge practically and successfully to thousands of cases using only natural law, the power of foods, and digestive rest! Through his journey working with all types of individuals, he was able to customize detoxification to each person’s bodily constitution and level of toxicity.

He found that this was key to helping individuals heal with fewer side effects, as cleansing is a process of acid release from tissues that is circulated in the body until it’s purged through the elimination organs. Since acids are hot, this release causes physical discomfort and healing crisis symptoms. 

As Ehret noted, “The more rapidly the patient feels ‘worse’ through a short fast, the greater and the more poisonous his or her encumbrance. Should they become dizzy, suffer severe headaches, etc.; they are greatly clogged up with mucus and toxemias.” He further affirms that individuals who adopt an alkaline, mucusless diet and fasting, may feel worse initially before they get better.

Unfortunately, these detox symptoms alarm many and persuade them to stop with the cleansing protocol, erroneously thinking that what they’re doing is harmful.

If you push through this healing crisis, the body will balance out, get more energetic, and depending on your level of toxicity (which determines the length of the healing crisis), you’ll feel healthy and strong in your own time. 


What Are the Worst Foods for the Lymphatic System? 


The worst foods for the lymphatic system are essentially highly acidic foods that stagnate the lymph and weaken the kidneys. They are foods that have acidic-ash residue when metabolized by the body.

This acid then contributes to irritation, pain, inflammation, and the formation of disease over time, since the elimination organs are too weak to properly detoxify them or are too overwhelmed with a constant acid purge that weakens them over time. 

Mucus is characterized by phlegm production and is simply the body’s protective mechanism response to inflammation. It is meant to offset inflammatory compounds entering the body by protecting cells and tissues from their degenerative chemistry.

It is liquid and slimy in nature and its production signals the presence of acidic chemistry in the body. Any congestion in the sinuses, the throat, and the head shows the extent of our mucus overload, while cold and flu are simply the body’s effort to eliminate and detoxify accumulated acids and mucus. 

Overall, the worst foods for the lymphatic system are man-made, processed, packaged, artificially seasoned and sweetened, and ridden with pesticides. 

Here are just some of the ways these lymph-clogging foods produce acidic chemistry in the body:

  • Meat produces uric acid

  • Beans and nuts produce phytic acid

  • Dairy produces lactic acid

  • Starches produce carbonic acid 

  • Soft drinks produce phosphoric acid


The Formula for Health and Vitality


Ehret’s knowledge and experience led him to understand the power of natural law that governs the homeostasis of all life. He devised a formula for vitality that would be easy to conceptualize for anyone looking to reverse disease and regain vitality. His formula for life was explained as the following: 

V = P – O (V equals P minus O) 

  • “V” stands for VITALITY

  • “P” is the POWER that drives the human machinery, which keeps you alive, which gives you strength and efficiency—endurance for as yet an unknown length of time without food!

  • “O” means OBSTRUCTION, encumbrance, foreign matter, toxemias, mucus—in short, all internal impurities which obstruct the circulation, the function of internal organs especially, and the human engine in its entire functioning system.


Is a High-Protein Diet Healthy for the Lymph?


Essentially, like all wise naturopaths that have healed individuals successfully through detoxification and tissue regeneration, Ehret believed that complex protein was very harmful to the human body and led to heavy mucus production and bodily inflammation. 

Mucus is the side-effect of a stagnant lymphatic system that leads to chronic inflammation. Proteins take a lot of work to be broken down chemically (they take plenty of the body's energy reserves) and the break-down itself creates additional acidic waste.

Here is what Ehret has to say about them and why proteins are one of the worst foods for the lymphatic system:

When the movement for naturopathy and a meatless diet began in the nineteenth century, medical scientists were endeavoring to prove by mathematical figures that physical and mental efficiency have to be kept up through daily replacement of protein, with a certain quantity for the average human. In other words, it became fashionable—a mania—to suggest and to do exactly the opposite of nature’s laws whenever a person felt weak, tired rapidly, or became exhausted or sick in any way. 
 High protein foods act as stimulation for a certain time, because they decompose at once in the human body into poison. It is a commonly known fact that any kind of animal substance becomes very poisonous as soon as it enters into oxidation with air, especially at a higher temperature as exists in the human body.
 The learned have gone so far as to prove that humans belong biologically in the class of meat-eating animals, while the descendant theory proves that they belong to the ape family, who are exclusively fruit eaters. You can see how ridiculous—contradictory—so-called ‘science’ is. 
The fundamental fact and truth of why the grown man or woman does not need so much protein as the old physiology claims is shown in the combination of mother’s milk, which does not contain over two and a half to three percent protein, and nature builds up with that the foundation of a new body…
 The reason a ‘one-sided’ meat-eater can live a relatively longer time than the vegetarian ‘starch-eater’ is easy to understand…The first one produces less solid obstructions by smaller quantities of meat foods than the starch ‘overeater,’ but their later diseases are more dangerous because they accumulate more poisons, pus, and uric acid.

-Arnold Ehret, The Mucusless Diet Healing System (Scientific Method of Eating Your Way to Health)


Healing with Lymph-Friendly Foods


To properly heal, Ehret believed that people should understand some of the most essential tenets of health that would demystify why people get ill in the first place. He places major importance on diet and rejects any notion that health can be achieved without emphasis on nutrition. 

FIRST — in food (in diet) lies 99.99 percent of the causes of all diseases and imperfect health of any kind.

SECOND — all healing, all therapeutics, will continue to fail so long as they refuse to place the most important stress on a diet.

THIRD — “mucusless diet” and “mucus-forming foods” divides characteristically all human foods into harmless, natural, healing, and real nourishing foods—and into harmful, disease-producing ones.

FOURTH — all other dietetics are mainly wrong because they lay their stress on food values entirely, whether “wrong” or not, instead of the healing, cleaning, eliminating values, and their efficiency before the healing process is started, going on, or accomplished at all.

Ehret further elaborates on the best diet for healing by distinguishing between mucus-forming and mucusless foods as follows:

  • All fruits (raw or cooked), nuts, and green-leaf vegetables are mucus-free. 

  • All other foods of civilization, without exception, are mucus and acid-forming, and therefore are harmful.

  • The best diet for the human body is a radical fruit, mucusless, or raw-food diet. 

When consuming these foods, it is generally common to feel worse before feeling better. Ehret describes this healing crisis as one during which it is possible to develop boils, sores, pains, and other detoxification symptoms.

This is because the alkaline foods are so hydrating, that they loosen up all the acids in the body to be circulated for elimination. They help the lymphatic system circulate the waste back to the kidneys properly and strengthen the kidneys to do so effectively!


How to Transition from an Acidic to an Alkaline Diet


What is fundamental to know is that healing is not a straight and quick path to energy, vitality, and superhuman euphoria. Instead, regenerating one’s body is a process that may involve discomfort, pain, feelings of anxiety and nervousness, tiredness, and weakness.

Cleansing can instigate cold and flu-like symptoms and usually, you will feel worse before you feel better. This healing crisis is a result of the body dealing with moving and purging acidic chemistry and is a pathway to true regeneration. Colds and flu are the body’s way of cleansing, and we should never suppress them by taking chemical medicines. 

The mucus and respiration that comes out during these episodes are the body’s way of purging much of the degenerative acids and toxins that interfere with its function. Let nature take its course, and instead of taking harmful chemical drugs that suppress detoxification, you should consume natural herbs and vital foods to strengthen the body’s cleaning capacity and help you feel better faster. 

To truly help the body prepare for long-term healing with an alkaline diet, a transition diet is always favorable. It usually consists of healthy but not “the healthiest” foods that can help strengthen and hydrate the body but not push it to the extremes with astringency, which could put it through a cycle of experiencing heavy detox symptoms.

By going slow and transitioning to higher levels of hydration and detoxification over time, the body will not be stressed and overwhelmed – meaning you would feel better and more in control over the process.


This is what Ehret says about the importance of a transition diet when going from an acid-based lifestyle to a predominantly alkaline one, as well as the significance of consuming a light breakfast:

My experience of over 20 years, covering for the most part the extremely severe cases of all kinds of diseases, has proven that a carefully selected and progressively changing transition diet is the best and surest way for every patient to start a cure, especially for the average mixed eater. As long as wrong foods (foods of civilization) are partly used, I call it a mucus-lean diet. Transition means the slow change from disease-producing foods to disease-healing foods, which I call the mucusless diet.
 The worst and by far the unhealthiest habit is the HEAVY BREAKFAST. No solid food should be eaten in the early morning at all if you desire to secure the best results. It is permissible to take the drink that you are accustomed to, but nothing else. If you find this difficult to do in the beginning, you may drink again later on, so that your lunch is taken on an empty stomach. This is so very important that many light diseases can be cured by the so-called “NO BREAKFAST PLAN” alone.
Arnold Ehret, The Mucusless Diet Healing System (Scientific Method of Eating Your Way to Health)


Lymph-Stagnating Foods to Avoid for Body Purification


When going on a transition diet, Ehret suggests that we stay away from high-acid foods, and concentrate on consuming only mildly mucus-forming foods. These foods are neither harmful nor highly healing, but are wonderful bridge foods to help the average diet consumer clean the body and prime it with more energy, nutrition, and higher frequency.

That way, it will be able to withstand the astringency and regeneration of alkaline chemistry that truly heals. 

Once the body gets used to these foods (usually over 3 months, in my experience) and there are no symptoms further experienced on them, you can start to consume at least 50% of purely alkaline foods.

Slowly increase your intake of alkaline foods and herbs over time, depending on your cleansing goals, and whenever you need more grounding, you can occasionally include some of the mildly/moderately mucus-forming foods, which will pause the detox and stop the healing process until more alkaline foods are consumed. 

Here is Ehret’s comprehensive list of acidic foods to avoid and which you should remove partially or wholly from your diet when on a detox or a disease-healing protocol. 





Blood of animals

Eggs (all kinds)


Meat (Beef, Chicken, Horse, Dog, Mutton/Lamb, Turkey, Veal,

Pork: Bacon, Ham, Sausage, Gammon, Chitterlings, Pig feet;

Wild game: Bison, Buffalo, Ostrich, Rabbit, Venison, etc.)

Margarine (made with animal fat)



Crustacean (Crab, Crawfish, Lobster, Shrimp)

Fish (all types)

Mollusks (Clams, Oysters, Mussels, Snails, etc.)

Roe (Caviar)





Butter, cow


Cheese (all kinds)



Milk (all animals and kinds; raw organic; skim, 1 or 2 percent, etc.)





Bread (all kinds; Barley, Black, Rye, White, Graham, Pumpernickel, Zwieback, etc.)

Cereal grains (all kinds; Maize, Farina, Kamut, Millet, Oats, Spelt, White or Brown Rice, Whole or Refined Wheat, etc.)



Pseudocereals (all kinds; Amaranth, Buckwheat, Chia, Cockscomb, Quinoa, etc.)



Beans (all kinds and forms; Black Beans, Black-eyed peas, Fava Beans, Butter Beans, Cannellini Beans, Edamame, Great Northern Beans, Italian Beans, Kidney Beans, Lima Beans, Mung Beans, Navy Beans, Pinto Beans, Soy Beans)


Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans

Split Peas

String (Green) Beans

White Beans



Nuts (all kinds; Acorns, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Chestnuts, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Pecans, Pistachios, Walnuts, etc.)

Seeds (all kinds; Sunflower, Pumpkin, Hemp, Sesame, etc.)



Dried convenience foods

Fast foods

Frozen convenience foods

Packaged convenience foods

Processed meat



Baked goods (all kinds including pies, cakes, pastries, etc.)

Candy (all kinds; Bars, Caramels, Chocolate, Fudge, Jelly candies, Rock Candy, Taffy)

Gelatin (Jello)

Ice Cream (Dairy and Non-Dairy)




Agave Nectar (because it is too highly processed)

Alcoholic Beverages (all kinds; Ale, Beer, Brandy, Champagne, Hard Cider, Liqueur, Mead, Porter, Rum, Sake/Rice Wine, Gin, Herbal Wine, Lager, Fruit Wine, Vodka, Whisky, Tequila, etc.)



Kombucha Tea

Soft Drink (Soda Pop)

Syrups (Brown Rice, Barley Malt, Chocolate, Corn, Molasses, Artificial Flavoring)

Tea (non-herbal)

Vinegar (all types; White, Apple Cider)



Fish Sauce

Fermented Vegetables (all; Kimchi/Cabbage and other veggies, Olives, Pickles/Cucumbers, Sauerkraut/Cabbage, etc.)


Sauces with Vinegar (Hot Sauce, Ketchup, Mustard, Mayonnaise, Relish, Tartar, Barbecue, Salad Dressing, Salsa, etc.)

Soy Sauce



Chips (Corn, Potato, Plantain, etc.)

Frozen Vegan Breakfast Foods (Waffles, etc.)

Hummus (Processed chickpeas)

Lab-grown Animal Tissue


Nutritional Yeast

Pasta (egg-free)

Pasteurized 100% Fruit Juice (potentially acid-forming)

Plant Milk (Grains, Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes including soy, rice, etc.)

Plant-based Butters (Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes including Soy, Peanut, etc.)

Plant-based Creamers

Soy Lecithin (food additive)


Texturized Vegetable Protein (“mock” meats including soy, etc.)


Vegan Baked Goods

Vegan Confections (all kinds; Chocolates, Ice Cream, etc.)

Vegan Cheese Substitutes

Vegan Mayonnaise

Vegan Whipped Cream

Yogurts (Plant-based)



Heated or cooked oils (all kinds; Avocado, Chia Seed, Coconut, Corn, Cotton Seed, Flax Seed, Grape Seed, Hemp Seed, Nut, Olive, Palm, Peanut, Quinoa, Rapeseed [including Canola], Safflower, Soybean, etc.)



Black Peppercorns

Cayenne Pepper

Chili Powder

Cream of Tartar

Curry Powder




Salt (Celery, Crystal, Iodized, Sea)

Vanilla Extract





Banana (unripe)

Carrots (raw)



Coconut Meat



Fungus (Mushrooms)

Green Peas





Raw or Baked White Potatoes

Raw Squashes (Winter, Acorn, Butternut, etc.)

Raw Sweet Potatoes




Final Thoughts


When it comes to healing, an acid-free diet acts as the most quality fuel for the miraculous biological machine that is the body. Inevitably, the chemistry we choose to consume and entertain will either bring us closer to vitality, energy, and happiness, or the opposite – pain, decay, and disengagement from life. 

Alkaline chemistry is found in organic fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and herbs and fuels the cells with the energy they require to actively function. It also heals outstanding health issues that may become problematic down the line.

When we consume alkaline chemistry, we hydrate the body and expand the awareness of life in all our cells by elevating them to a higher frequency of awareness. Not only will these foods change our health, but they will expand our consciousness of the world around us and make us more peaceful, loving, generous, and kind to all living beings. 

Whereas lymph-clogging foods corrode and promote aggression, alkalinity soothes, nourishes, and elevates lovingness. 

Ehret undoubtedly left a tremendous mark on the naturopathic community and has inspired many natural healers to utilize the sole power of the mucus-less diet for healing the human body.

I hope this list of worst foods for the lymphatic system has inspired you to try an elimination diet that will hopefully turn into a transition diet that embraces a more healing alkaline path to life!

And if you need more help with your healing journey, I am here for you! To connect with me, check out my health consultations and digital products.


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