What Is The Best Food For Sinus Infection?

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A sick person blowing their nose.

Does sinus infection, allergies, or inflammation bother you frequently? You may not be able to prevent these issues entirely, but you can and should try to reduce their impact!

This brings us to the question of “What is the best food for sinus infection relief and prevention?”, which is a very important subject.

In this guide, we will introduce you to food items that can help with a sinus headache, congestion, or inflammation. Additionally, we’ll let you know which foods you should avoid in order to make sure you don’t aggravate symptoms further.

Best Foods For Sinus Infection

Tea in a cup.

Foods high in the following substances may be able to help you alleviate the symptoms of sinusitis and allergy [1]:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential fats with anti-inflammatory properties. They are important for general health as well.
  • Vitamin C. As an antioxidant, vitamin C counteracts histamine – the key contributor to inflammation, sneezing, and runny nose.
  • Dietary polyphenols. Dietary polyphenols such as quercetin, EGCG, and gingerol can reduce the secretion of mucus in the nose and alleviate sinus congestion.

And when it comes to specific food items, among the best food to fight sinus inflammation and allergies are [1][2][3]:

  • Fatty fish. Salmon, albacore tuna, halibut, and mackerel contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. Mind mercury though – some fish have more mercury in them than others [4].
  • Nuts, seeds, beans, and avocados. If you don’t have access to fish or have other reasons not to eat it, you may instead eat flaxseed, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin, beans, and avocados. These foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids too.
  • Citrus fruits. If you can, eat oranges, grapefruit, strawberry, and other citrus fruits – these are laden with vitamin C.
  • Red and green vegetables. In case citrus fruits are not an option for you, you may eat tomatoes, kale, spinach, brussels sprout, broccoli, and red/green bell peppers for vitamin C.
  • Onions, leafy green vegetables, turmeric, ginger, and many other fruits and vegetables. What unites these food items is the high content of dietary polyphenols.
  • Honey. Raw honey is filled with antioxidants and is a great addition to your diet. Honey is a common treatment for allergies as well, though its benefits are not backed by research. Don’t give honey to children younger than 1 year.
  • Yogurt. Yogurt contains probiotics that may slightly reduce pollen allergy symptoms.

As for drinks, here’s what may work for you:

  • Water. If you have an infection, you should stay hydrated so that your body can adequately tackle the virus. Water is the best drink to fight sinus infection and should be the basis of all your efforts.
  • Green tea, tea, red wine. These beverages are rich in polyphenols and thus have the potential to relieve congestion.
  • Warm fluids. Warm fluids in general – including tea and soups – can effectively break congestion in your airways as well.

In the end, the best diet is a balanced diet. Spices, vegetables, and onions are a great way to load dishes with nutrients. Not only do they make food healthier, but they can also add more flavor to bland items. Definitely do make use of these ingredients, but in moderation.

Foods To Avoid If You Have Sinusitis

Fast food on a plate.

There are many food items that can help you with a sinus cold, but some foods can make matters worse.

Here’s what you should avoid at all costs if you have sinus congestion, allergies, or inflammation [2][5]:

  • Food allergens. If you have allergies to any of the foods listed earlier, your symptoms will become worse. Don’t eat citruses, peanuts, dairy products, or gluten-containing products if you are allergic to them.
  • Fruits and vegetables containing pollen-like proteins. Some foods contain proteins that are similar to proteins contained in pollen. If you have a pollen allergy, some foods may thus be a no-go for you. For example, people with grass allergies should avoid peaches or celery, while those allergic to ragweed may want to avoid melons or tomatoes. Ask your doctor if you aren’t sure what you should and should not eat.
  • Alcohol. Although red wine can help thanks to the contained polyphenols, it may trigger nasal congestion in some people. The same applies to other alcoholic beverages like beer.
  • Processed sugar. Desserts are packed with processed sugar, which may cause low-grade (chronic) inflammation.
  • Trans fatty acids. Trans fatty acids contained in fast foods, fried products, and frozen items can trigger systemic inflammation.
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG). MSG is common in Asian foods, soy sauce, fast foods, prepared soups, deli meats, and salad dressings. This substance may aggravate symptoms by affecting liver health and leading to chronic inflammation.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids in foods like mayonnaise or vegetable oil can cause inflammation in your body.
  • Refined carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates in foods like rolls, cereals, French fries, or white potatoes can encourage the formation of inflammatory gut bacteria.

What Else Can You Do To Alleviate Sinus Symptoms?

Foods can help you tremendously, but there’s more that you can do to alleviate the symptoms of sinus infection [1][3]:

  • Keep your sinuses hydrated. You may do so by using a humidifier, saline nasal sprays, and shower regularly (inhaling steam can help you reduce congestion).
  • Clean your sinuses with eucalyptus oil. You may inhale the oil via an oil diffuser. Make sure to use high-quality, food-grade oils.
  • Use a neti pot to flush your sinuses.
  • Make use of nasal irrigation.
  • Use over-the-counter medications.
  • Try acupressure. Applying pressure to Large Intestine 4 (LI 4, the point between the thumb and the index finger) and Gallbladder 20 (the point at the back of the skull at the junction between the ear bone and the neck) points can help relieve sinusitis and seasonal allergies. For the LI 4 point, you may use Aculief.
  • Avoid stress and get plenty of rest.

Additionally, you could try the technique showed in the video below.

 

 

Sources:
  1. “A Guide to Natural Ways to Alleviate Allergy and Sinusitis Symptoms”, Explore IM, https://exploreim.ucla.edu/wellness/a-guide-to-natural-ways-to-alleviate-allergy-and-sinusitis-symptoms/.
  2. “Best Diet for Nasal Allergies”, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/allergies-diet.
  3. “9 Ways to Get Rid of a Sinus Infection, Plus Tips for Prevention”, Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-get-rid-of-sinus-infection.
  4. “Advice about Eating Fish”, U.S. FDA, https://www.fda.gov/food/consumers/advice-about-eating-fish.
  5. “6 foods you are eating that can cause inflammation”, News24, https://www.news24.com/health24/medical/sinusitis/about-sinusitis/6-foods-that-can-cause-inflammation-20190916-2.

 

 

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