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Condition - Sinusitis

By Cathy Robinson BSc DipNutMed

Sinuses are thin, air-filled chambers situated in the cartilage around the nose, both sides of the forehead, between nasal passages, between eye sockets and in cheekbones. They are interconnected and also connect with the nasal passages. Inflammation of the sinuses is called sinusitis and results in a blockage of the natural sinus secretions. This congestion leads to a build-up of mucus and swollen tissues, which can cause symptoms such as headache, pain over the affected sinus, bad breath, feeling of fullness in the ears and a runny or blocked nose. While acute sinusitis commonly follows a cold or flu, and is triggered by a bacterial infection, chronic sinusitis is associated more with food or airborne allergies. When the mucous is greenish or yellowish it indicates infection but when it is clear it’s most likely the result of allergies.

Contributing factors

  • Airborne particles, house dust mites, pets, mould, plastics, irritant fumes
  • Food allergens - commonly milk and other dairy products
  • Asthma
  • Cold or flu
  • Low immunity
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet - too many refined carbohydrates, fatty foods, lack of green vegetables
  • Shallow breathing

Useful nutrients

  • Grapefruit seed extract - has anti-microbial properties
  • Garlic - to support immune defences
  • Vitamin C and quercetin - important for immune function
  • MSM - helps anti-inflammatory processes and maintains clear airways
  • Cat’s claw - for healthy mucous membranes and a strong immune system

Nutritional advice

Increase fresh, wholefoods in the diet including a wide variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, wholegrains such as brown rice and quinoa, pulses and legumes

  • Eat foods that are plentiful in vitamin C such as oranges, kiwi, red and green peppers, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and sweet potato
  • Foods which may be particularly beneficial are garlic, onions, chillies, ginger, horseradish, mustard and pineapple
  • Avoid mucus-forming foods and foods which are common allergens such as dairy products, eggs, wheat, fried and fatty foods, pastries, sugar, chocolate, beer and food additives
  • Avoid coffee, tea and alcohol which can be mucus-forming
  • Fresh vegetable and fruit juices can be very cleansing to the system, e.g. carrot, pineapple, papaya and apple
  • Drink plenty of fluids such as herb teas, mineral water or vegetable juices

Other advice

  • Inhalation is a tried and tested way to relieve blocked sinuses. Add oil of eucalyptus, thyme or cloves to a bowl of almost-boiling water, cover your head with a towel, close your eyes and inhale for 10 minutes
  • A steam bath or sauna can help relieve congestion
  • Osteopath: spinal manipulation, head massage to drain the lymph
  • Neck exercises
  • Daily moderate exercise to help boost immunity 

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