Sinus Issues: Questions and Answers
Effect of food on sinus issues
Some would argue food has nothing to do with sinus problems. Empirical, independent research has demonstrated otherwise. So has the German Government's Commission E, which has published the results of scientific research it conducted on 150 medicinal herbs. The conclusions showed that some herbs do alleviate certain ailments and in some cases they can be as effective as prescription medications.
We can say, then, that plant based products such as herbals (botanicals) can be good for sinus issues--when ,independent, reliable research has so concluded. Considering that some of the botanicals have shown to contain natural antiviral and antibiotic properties, these natural remedies, together with other natural procedures, can be used safely to help relieve sinus issues such as: sinus infection, sinus drainage, congestion, phlegm, pressure, pain.
You should know that Harvard School of Public Health has sent a strong message to the U S Department of Agriculture, as well as nutrition experts everywhere, with the recent release of its "Healthy Eating Plate" food guide--which replaced the outdated food pyramid. Not having been influenced by food industries lobbyists--as they asserted--the greatest evidence of its research focus is the absence of dairy products from the "Healthy Eating Plate." It is based on sound nutrition research which puts dairy products as contributing to an increase in the risk of some types of cancer. Although it does not say that dairy products are bad for the sinuses, nevertheless, the implication is that it's detrimental to human general health, which in turn would directly or indirectly impinge upon sinus health.
In other words, a healthy body can better handle potnetial sinus issues than an unhealthy one. Of course, some of us have been aware of the negative impact of cow's milk as food for a long time--specially as a producer of mucus, etc. Fortunately, milk's not so healthy legacy is now being more vigorously asserted from independent, reliable sources. This should help, in time, to cut down on sinus issues such as sinusitis, sinus pressure, drainage, mucus and on OTC (over-the-counter) remedies among those who heed the warning. Often hay fever is exacerbated by the use of foods which are imcompatible with this disorder.
Back in the late 1800's E. G. White had penned: "We are what we eat." This seemingly simple statement embraces a truth that most of us may not realize. Poor, unhealthy foods are going to have a strong negative influence in the quality of life we will have--health wise. All the money in the world cannot equate the blessing of good health. And sinus issues can bring enough discomforts, pain and expense to mar that blessing. This is why we cannot overemphasize the importance of eating the right foods to protect and keep the nasal and sinus cavity healthy.
An excellent way to promote sinus health for some could be fasting one day per week or every two weeks, assuming there no other health issues that would negate its use. It detoxifies and cleanses the body naturally, thereby boosting the healing properties therof including the immune system. Some foods, you should know by now, can stimulate the production of mucus, while fasting the body would be taking a break from them. While others foods can help sinus issues. This topic we consider so important that we are showing below a list of sinus friendly foods and of those not-so-friendly. You can expand your knowledge on sinus issues and food and bibliography by visiting our other pages. A brief biographic about the author on his sinus journey is also available.
Good Foods for the Sinuses
Because they tend not to congest the sinuses and do not stimulate mucus production:
- it contains bromelain--an anti-inflammatory
- it helps the digestion process by breaking down protein
- used by athletes to treat aches and injuries
- a food source of manganese and vitamin C
- if you take a blood thinner be careful with bromelain
- lemons and limes
- high in potassium
- high in pectin and phytochemicals
- has anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogen properties among others
has high quantity of potassium
- to keep bodily tissues supple and healthy
- promotes good general health
- it also helps regularity
- contains omega3 oil
- canned fruits
- salad, leafy
- water cress, etc.
- it has much potassium, etc.
- it is credited with bodily cleansing properties
- it can help your general health
Bad Foods for the Sinuses
Because they can stimulate mucus production, and in some cases cause discomforts such as sinus pressure symptoms, drainage, etc.:
- wine, beer, liquor, etc.
- sour kraut
- sour cream
- Dairy products
Large amounts of salt
- potato chips
- sour krout
- dry fish
- Saturated fats
- white bread
- white rice, etc.
- Starchy foods in general
Large amounts of sugar
- soda pop about the worst food
- milk shakes
- sugary breakfast cereals
- desserts, etc.
What are the sinuses?
They are hollow empty spaces or cavities mostly within the face. They reduce the weight of the skull, protect and insulate it and gives resonance to the voice. They also humidify, warm and filter the air that passes through the nose. They are lined with a membrane that produces mucus and has thousands of hairlike organelles called cilia which move mucus and other elements to keep the sinus cavities healthy and functioning properly.
How many sinuses are there?
There are four pairs or a total of eight cavities: The maxillary in the cheek areas. The frontal above the eye brows. The ethmoid between and behind the eye areas. The sphenoid in the center of the head.
What causes sinus issues?
Viruses, "colds,"allergies, mucus, (when allowed to stagnate) congestion, smog, very dry air, certain foods, almost anything that would irritate the sinuses membranes on a regular basis could cause them. Unknown to many, house dust can be a powerful allergenic and can cause sinus afflictions like excessive mucus, excessive sinus drainage, infected mucus, even clear mucus--the good kind of mucus--if excessive can create complications. Some times a condition like bronchitis, if not properly cared for, can linger on for a long time and cause some other undesirable health conditions. Some foods can cause or exacerbate sinus disorders.
Are sinus issues preventable?
The answer may vary depending on who you ask. A person with a genetic predisposition to them obviously will have a more difficult time with prevention than one who does not. In both cases lifestyle--food, drink, physical exercise, relaxation, spiritual values--may be the key to prevention. Over time, however, anything that irritates the sinuses or causes sinus pressure on a regular basis will probably cause sinus problems of some kind. In any case lifestyle can lessen or exacerbate sinus problems like: sinus headache, sinus drainage, pressure, congestion. On the other hand, some problems like some sinus cavity diseases may have some genetic causes which can create a pre-disposition to certain sinus diseases. Yet there some specific things one can do to prevent, as much as possible, sinus problems:
What is sinusitis (sinus infection)?
It is an infection or inflammation of the sinuses. Often it starts with a cold, flu or allergy attack that makes the nasal membranes swell and increase the production of watery mucus. If the sinuses become blocked and the mucus and air cannot flow easily between the nose and sinus pressure builds up in the latter creating pain. In such cases the stage is set for bacteria to grow and for bacterial sinusitis; unless air and mucus begin flowing again soon enough. Sinusitis can be accompanied by yellow mucus and green mucus and sometimes by coughing up yellow mucus.
Nasal Cavity and Upper Respiratory Tract
a - vertebrae, b - esophagus, c - trachea
d - cricoid cartilage, e - laryngopharynx, f -
pharynx, g - nasopharynx, k - tongue,
l - hard palate,
o - superior turbinate,
p - middle turbinate, q - inferior turbinate
What are the symptoms of sinusitis?
One does not need to have all these symptoms:
facial pain, congestion, pressure
- nasal discharge--often yellow or green mucus
- reduced ability to breath normally through the nose
- loss of the sense of smell and/or taste
- fever, fatigue
- chronic cough
- bad breath
At times some of these symptoms can also apply to other medical conditions, this makes sinusitis difficult to diagnose.
Knowing the possible meaning of the mucus color can help identify a sinus condition.
How to approach sinusitis?
To go to the root cause of the problem not just relieve symptoms. This is the approach I used very successfully.
OTC remedies can help cope with the symptoms stress only, not cure the problem. Knowing the meaning of the color of mucus helps to diagnose the problem.
What I would do to relieve sinusitis
This is what I would do to take care of sinusitis Click
What is sinus congestion?
This occurs when the sinus cannot be kept clear so that mucus and air can flow freely, mucus accumulates in the sinus cavities. Or it cannot flow fast enough to the back of the throat or from the nasal passages. This condition is often produced by some irritant in the environment like pollens, some foods, or a cold, or the flu and can be a prelude to sinus pressure.
What is the best way to relieve sinus congestion?
There are a number of medications sold over-the-counter which usually relieve the symptoms of this condition satisfactorily. Acupressure for the sinuses is a quick, effect ice way that can work in many cases. Should it become a chronic problem a physician should then be seen.
The green snot, what is it?
Green snot is mucus usually associated with a sinus infection. I can be the last stage of the infection. Snort or mucus has powerful enzymes and chemicals to destroy invading germs that would otherwise infect our breathing organs. One co-enzyme that arrives to battle those germs is the myeloperoxidase; one which contains iron elements which give the mucus the green color.
What is PND--post-nasal drip--or sinus drainage?
Whenever there is an irritation of the nasal passages whether by environmental elements such as pollens, dust, smog, "colds," etc., the sinus and nose membranes produce an abnormal amount of mucus or histamine which is intended to wash away the irritation. This excessive amount of secretions that go down the back of the throat is the PND or excessive drainage.
In many instances the post-nasal drip goes away when the the irritant ceases to affect the nasal membranes. If the flow is blocked it will accumulate and result in sinus pressure and pain. Thus antihistamines remedies are used to neutralize the effect of histamine in the body. They can be purchased over-the-counter. Should this condition last for a prolonged period then a physician should be consulted.
What is sinus pain or headache?
Sinus cavities fill with mucus because the sinus openings are blocked and mucus and air cannot flow through. The swollen sinuses cannot drain and pressure builds up and pain results. Or when the nose cavity is congested and runny or filled with mucus, it is probably a so called "sinus headache." Sometimes allergens in house dust can cause this kind of discomfort.
What is sinus pressure?
One of the most common sinus issues is sinus pressure which is caused by accumulated mucus in the sinus cavities. The latter cannot drain due to the swollen cavity membranes which block the sinus openings into the passages or the nasal cavity. The sinus pressure can build up and cause sinus headaches. Should the mucus remain long enough it can stagnate and can cause a sinus infection, yellow mucus being one of the symptoms of the latter.
What is the best way to relieve sinus pain?
Some of us use acupressure to open the sinuses so they can begin to drain and release pressure. Or one can use one of a number of over-the-counter medications which are intended to do that. If this condition lasts more than a few days, then a physician should be consulted. The problem is probably a sinus infection which would require an antibiotic; which can only be dispensed by prescription. Or sinus pressure. There are differences of opinion. Most people with sinus issues, like sinus pressure, excessive mucus, I have talked with and who have experimented by eating certain foods, and then not eating them and have evaluated the results, have told me that two foods, let's call them food #1 and food #2 definitely made a difference. This has also been my own personal experience.
Are sinus ailments such as congestion, sinusitis, pressure, etc., transmittable?
That depends on which kind of sinus ailment we are talking about. Any sinusitis or excessive drainage or discharge connected with a viral sinus issue can be transmitted to another person through coughing, , or some other means of physical contact with the virus, just like the flu. Many sinus ailments are not virus connected. For example, allergic reactions often cause sinus problems--such as sinus pressure and some sinus pressure symptoms--,which are not connected with a virus. And some of the medications used for the relief of sinus pressure symptoms can be used to relieve other sinus ailment symptoms.
Do antibiotics cure sinus problems?
Antibiotics are used mostly to treat infections. To the degree that a sinus issue may involve a bacterial infection they would usually be employed to kill it, but not if it is a viral infection. Antibiotics do nothing to viruses.
Why is a sinus nasal discharge sometimes green or yellow?
A sinus infection can produce a thick, sticky mucus with pus discharge or drainage which has a yellowish or greenish color. A nasal discharge should not be confused with phlegm which is produced by the lungs and should always be coughed up and out through the mouth. Knowing the meaning of the color of mucus can be important enough for one to know. You should know that food can affect your sinus issues as well as allergic reactions.
What is the best way to decongest the sinuses?
The answer varies depending on which healing system a person decides to use: medicine, homeopathy, acupressure (also know as sinus pressure points), chiropractic, botanicals, etc. For this particular sinus issue and avoid sinus pressure I use acupressure very successfully or sinus rinse. By pressing one specific point on the back of my neck I can drain my sinuses in a few minutes. It's free, no side effects, convenient and takes just a few moments. Inhalations are also good, but you should be careful not to harm the cilia which lines the nasal and sinus cavities. Take care of congestion and sinus pressure right away to avoid complications such as sinus infection, sinus drainage, etc.
Is there a connection between sinus infections and allergies?
A main cause of sinus problems is allergies to the environment: pollens, smog, dry air, house dust, chemical substances one is exposed to, etc. The reason is that they irritate the sinus cavity membranes which in turn can cause congestion, PND, pressure, headache, etc. Whenever pollens and house dust are the allergens and the allergy is severe--and so the accompanying sinus problem--allergy injections are often used to alleviate the problem.
Are rhinitis and sinusitis related
Rhinitis also known as hay fever or runny nose, is an inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane lining the nasal cavity. While sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus cavity membranes. While these two ailments are not related per se, a chronic case of rhinitis can be associated with allergens, viruses or bacteria which could eventually affect the sinus cavities also. Some of the symptoms of rhinitis may mimic some of sinusitis. Rhinitis, although not a fatal disease, is seldom curable.