Sinusitis or inflamed sinuses are often the result of a recent cold, flu or allergy. We regularly see sinus issues increasing in winter and the months surrounding winter as a repercussion of the cold and flu season. I’m here to tell you that you do not need to suffer through and pump your very delicate body with medication after medication. Let’s do this thing with the tools provided to us by nature. But first…
What are the symptoms of Sinusitis?
Symptoms may vary from person to person and some may not release that inflamed sinus are the cause of their grief. Let’s look at the many uncomfortable and life interrupting symptoms that sinus inflammation may cause.
- Painful headaches predominately behind or above the eyes. You can normally confirm sinus involvement by pushing your fingertips onto the eyebrows and top of the cheekbones. This will produce pain in a sinus infection or congestion.
- Bending forward and experiencing a feeling of pressure and pain at the front of the head and face
- Puffiness or swelling under the eyes – no, they are not old age, lack of sleep or dehydration puffy bags but INFLAMMED SINUSES.
- Nasal congestion – this may be a nose that runs like a tap, mucus you just can’t seem to expel or a blocked sense of smell.
- Bad breath – all that nasty, yuck bacteria is getting suck in the nasogastric tube and is starting to go rotten!
- Sore throat
- Fatigue – how tiring is it when you are trying to get rid of a cold or flu let alone constantly having to blow your nose or breathe only through your mouth!
- Loss of smell and or taste – ever blocked your nose so you don’t have to taste something you some like? If your sinuses are blocked from mucus or inflammation you may find you struggle to taste your food, including yummy food, oh no!
- Post-nasal drip (sometimes presents as a nuisance mild cough)
- Eye straining or eye pain often accompanied by headaches.
Causes of sinusitis
- Deviated septum (a mechanical issue often corrected with surgery)
- Common head cold
- Polyps of the nasal passage that blocks drainage
- Being born with a naturally narrow nasal passage
Let’s look at the foods that help us to feel better, reduce inflammation and arm our immune system with the weapons it needs to fight off bacteria and thick mucus.
Garlic and onions
I am a garlic feen! I will have oodles of garlic on almost everything! I also love the sweet taste of onion. But, they offer much more than potent flavour, they are considered natural antibacterial, mucolytic (breakdown mucus) and anti-inflammatories that improve circulation to the area and improve the functions of the immune system. Onions also contain beneficial levels of the enzyme quercetin, which is known as a natural antihistamine.
Horseradish, ginger, chilli, wasabi assist with the reduction of inflammation and fluidity of mucus to allow effective clearance.
And more Spicy
Spicy curries and soups are nutritious and contain spices that reduce swelling and enhance the free movement of mucus.
Be a designated driver
Reduce alcohol, alcohol contributes to inflammation, swelling and lowering of the functionality of the immune system.
Reduce mucus producers
Skip the dairy and sugar until the sinus infection/inflammation clears to reduce mucus production and inflammation.
Allergies and Intolerances
Identify any food sensitivities or allergies that may be contributing to inflammation and mucus production.
Admire the C
Increase vitamin C foods in the diet. Vitamin C acts on the immune system, enhancing its function and reducing histamine production. Foods such as kiwi fruit, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, citrus, broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum.
Dose up on H20
Keep well hydrated with water and herbal teas such as thyme and ginger.
Other sinus supports
- Good ol’ trusty Vicks inhalation and a hot steamy shower.
- Avoid or identify environmental allergens – dust, pollen, chemicals, mould.
- Sinus massage – run your fingers firmly (thumb and pointer) from between the eyes on both sides of the nose, just under the centre of the browns, down the edge of the nose and follow out as the cheek bone begins, all the way out to the outside of the eyes. Repeat 5-10 times.
- Eucalyptus and peppermint inhalation – 2 drops into a bowl of water and inhale steam deeply through the nose.
- Allow your body to rest and recover when in active infection.
As always take care. Get out in nature, eat well, exercise regularly, avoid the nasties and rest up!
Xx Danielle Catherine (Nutritionist)