Sinus infections can leave you with a splitting headache and a lot of discomfort. One of the best home remedies to avoid sinus infections is to eliminate certain foods from the diet. This HealthHearty article provides a list of foods to be avoided with a sinus infection.
According to data from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), nearly one in seven people are diagnosed with a sinus infection each year.
When you hear people saying, “My sinuses are killing me” you know that although it might not be true literally, but a sinus infection can leave you extremely miserable. The stuffy, clogged nose, the thick mucus, and not to forget the splitting headache in the center of the forehead, are some of the common signs of sinusitis.
What is Sinus Infection?
Characterized by the inflammation or swelling of your sinuses, that is the result of the sinuses getting blocked and filled with fluid, sinusitis or sinus infection is quite a common problem affecting millions of people worldwide. The sinuses are small hollow spaces that are present over the eyes, inside each cheekbone and behind the bridge of the nose. These sinuses are lined with mucus-producing membranes.
In a healthy person, the mucus moves through the openings of the paranasal sinuses and into the nose. When the mucus is unable to move, the sinuses are affected. When the blocked sinuses prevent air from entering, it creates a vacuum which in turn leads to pain. Most of the time, home remedies like inhaling moist, warm air, and using saline nasal sprays can help in dealing with sinusitis. One such remedy to prevent sinusitis is, to avoid certain foods that aggravate the problem. Here is a list of foods to avoid when you have sinusitis.
There are many people who suggest consuming heat-producing spicy foods like hot sauce on your egg, or spicy wasabi on your sushi, so as to clear out the sinuses. While they may temporarily do so, leaving you with runny nose and unclogged sinuses, but spicy foods can also trigger heartburn or acid reflux which in turn can lead to sinusitis. You may ask how would an upset stomach lead to clogged sinuses? The regurgitated stomach acid caused by acid reflux irritates and inflames the nasal cavity, leading to swollen and blocked sinusitis.
A great remedy for sinusitis are hot drinks like soups and teas. Some people may be tempted to consume caffeinated drinks like a steaming cup of coffee. While the heat from the coffee can help in opening up the nasal cavities, caffeinated drinks are diuretic that cause dehydration of the nasal membranes.
Other dehydrating drinks include sodas and alcohol which dehydrate the body and cause the mucus to harden. This leads to a swelling of the lining of the nose and sinuses. In addition to this, these drinks cause acid reflux that irritate the blocked sinuses even more.
Processed and canned foods which contain excess salt can lead to fluid retention around the sinuses, and also cause the expulsion of calcium from the body. This can further aggravate the infection. Other foods that lead to water retention are fish, meat and smoked cheeses.
Starchy foods containing yeast and gluten, like white flour, white rice, macaroni, pies, cupcakes, doughnuts and frosting, biscuits and candies can lead to the proliferation of bacteria, and prolong your infection. Substitute refined sugar with honey or brown sugar. This applies for sweetened juices as well. While drinking fresh, natural juices is good for flushing out the blockage, with sweetened juices that contain an overdose of carbohydrates and preservatives, the infection often worsens.
Allergic reactions, especially the ones caused by foods, are one of the main causes of sinus infections. Some common food allergens are shellfish, eggs, tree nuts and peanuts which can aggravate the symptoms of sinusitis. If you are confused about which foods are causing the allergy, then it is best to consult an allergist. He will check for increased levels of IgE caused by certain foods.
There are many people who believe that dairy products worsen the sinus infection. This is because these products are believed to increase the production of sinus-blocking phlegm that can block the narrow sinus airways, thus allowing bacteria to proliferate. Recent research, however, has not found any conclusive evidence of the same.
If you are among those who run to the refrigerator for late-night meals, then avoid it when suffering from a sinus infection. This is because, late-night snacking or meals can lead to acid reflux and irritation of the sinuses. Also, avoid cold foods and drinks that constrict the blocked nasal passages and also delay digestion.
Instead, have foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, like cold-water fish, and spices like basil and turmeric, as they are a natural anti-inflammatory and thus, reduce sinus swelling. Other good foods for sinus infections are broccoli, asparagus and bean sprouts which contain abundant vitamin C and calcium. Drink plenty of water and hot teas with ginger which will help in relieving nasal pressure, and draining mucus. With these simple tips and an elimination diet, you can easily avoid the pain and discomfort associated with a sinus infection.