People who suffer from regular sinus problems may be surprised to learn that their diet can have a tremendous influence on their symptoms. Since diet provides almost 100 percent of your body’s needed nutrition, neglecting important foods and eating too much of harmful ones can exacerbate sinus problems. On the other hand, adding certain foods to your diet may be able to relieve your symptoms in the short run and prevent problems in the future.
To help you turn your pantry into a medicine cabinet, try stocking up on healthy food for sinus problems :
Fish and Seafood
Not only are fish chock-full of high quality protein, many types also contain omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds help boost the body’s immune system and reduce inflammation. Studies have shown that omega-3 rich foods help stave off infection, and they lower the risk of heart disease and age-related hearing loss. Experts recommend eating fish high in omega-3 but low in compounds like mercury one to two times a week for best results.
Dark Leafy Greens
You are better off listing what vitamins and minerals aren’t in leafy greens than trying to count all of the myriad health benefits. In addition to the all-important dietary fiber — a component many American diets are sorely lacking — leafy vegetables can provide substances such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, potassium, calcium and other important minerals.
They can leave you feeling fuller and help you avoid rich, starchy foods that encourage inflammation and mucus production. Onions, tomatoes and limes have similar properties with the added benefit of being packed with flavor.
Spicy peppers like habaneros, jalapenos and cayennes contain an amazing compound called capsaicin. This chemical is responsible for the “heat” of spicy foods. While this heat can indeed feel painful, capsaicin has a remarkable capacity to also relieve pain. It is found in many over the counter topical pain relieving ointments, and it has been shown to reduce inflammation in certain applications.
Research from the University of Cincinnati has even found that a nasal spray containing capsaicin obtained from cayennes can relieve symptoms related to non-allergic sinus inflammation. While you may not be keen to spray some spicy peppers up inside your nose, you can obtain a similar benefit by cooking them into your foods. An added bonus is that spiciness triggers the “runny nose” sensation that can help free up congestion.
Honey is one of the few natural compounds on the planet that has inherent antibacterial properties. Scientists introducing honey to bacteria cultures containing common sinus infection strains discovered honey’s remarkable ability to kill off the bacteria.
However, when tested on human subjects the correlation was less statistically strong. At the very least, honey is an apt substitute for refined sugars that can encourage inflammation of fungal infections. Even better, honey can help soothe sore throats that often accompany bacterial sinus infections. In addition, eating local honey helps your body adapt to the area’s pollen. Eating it regularly before spring hits can reduce or even eliminate your seasonal allergies.
Garlic has long been studied for its incredible antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This characteristic comes from many of the aromatic compounds contained in the plant, especially one called allicin.
The Linus Pauling Institute recommends chopping up garlic in small pieces and letting it rest for 10 minutes when used in heated dishes for maximum effect. Eating it raw is better, but you may just scare away the rest of the house in the process with your weapons-grade breath.
Hot tea and clear hot soups are also excellent ways to restore fluids to the body, ease painful inflammation and break up mucus. Try this delicious salmon and kale coconut milk soup recipe to get started eating your way to health — try adding some fresh chopped garlic and a squeeze of lime for good measure!
If you have serious medical concerns about your chronic rhinitis or sinusitis, you should consider seeking professional medical treatment in addition to dietary adjustments. Take a look at our sinusitis resource page to learn more, including alternatives that help avoid regularly using antibiotics.