THE NATURAL HEALERS Vitamins and minerals — Colorful fruits and vegetables — like apricots, cantaloupe, strawberries, red and green peppers, kale, parsley and broccoli — get high praise from the scientists working on sinus healers world-wide. They contain lots of vitamin C which is known to fend off colds, allergies and sinus infections. You also need vitamin A to keep your mucous membranes healthy. If you eat carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, winter squash, you will get lots of beta carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A. Zinc, found in seafood, dark turkey meat and black beans helps change beta carotene to vitamin A. It also helps build up your immunity and reduces the risk of respiratory infections that can lead to colds.
Vitamin E is also strongly recommended for preventing allergies and sinusitis and its power is doubled when you get selenium with it. Whole grains grown in enriched soils can provide you with both these nutrients. Ginger-garlic — The stinky compound in garlic, allicin, kills fungi and bacteria and gives your immune system a much needed boost. Water — Keeping your mucous membranes moist will increase your resistance to infection and allow your sinuses to drain more easily. So drink lots of water — even more than the recommended 8 glasses of water a day especially if get a lot of exercise. For variety, include herbal teas, natural fruit juices diluted 50 per cent with water or thin soups but choose products with less salt and no added sugar. Avoid drinking too much coffee, tea and cola as these drinks contribute to dehydration and mucous production.
A WORD OF CAUTION You may think of milk, sweets, sweet beverages as comfort foods but if you are battling sinusitis, they may be adding to your discomfort as the protein in milk tends to increase and thicken mucous secretions so your best bet would be to avoid milk and dairy products especially at the time of sinus attack.
TRY EATING Apricots, strawberries, parsley, mangoes, cantaloupe, kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, black beans, whole wheat bread.
AVOID EATING Dairy products, sugar in large amounts, wine, alcohol, etc. Effective Everyday Tips on How to Clear Sinuses Behind the Stuffy Nose The sinuses are small air pockets in the skull around the eyes, nose, and forehead that are lined with mucous membranes. They moisten the air we breathe in while also catching dust, microbes, and allergens before these can reach the lungs. This warm, moist environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and mold, but the body does a good job of removing or destroying the captured bacteria, spores, and cysts before they can begin growing.
Problems arise when our mucous membranes are damaged, or the mucus becomes too thick to move freely. When this happens, infections can explode to life in the pockets of your sinuses and lead to a more severe condition. The Right Fluids Getting plenty of fluids is a top priority when dealing with a sinus infection. Staying fully hydrated helps your white blood cells work more efficiently, which enables your immune system to fight infection more effectively. Increasing fluid consumption can also help thin out your mucus, allowing it to flow more freely as inflammation subsides.
The quality of the fluids you choose is as important as the quantity -- sugar-rich beverages, including orange juice and other natural fruit juices, can interfere with white blood cells' ability to kill bacteria. Instead, opt for clear broth, tea or plain water. Warm fluids can be especially helpful in prompting mucus flow.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods Eating an anti-inflammatory diet -- centered on dietary fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants -- is generally considered one of the best defenses against infection in the first place. When you have a sinus infection, choosing foods that are strongly anti-inflammatory can help decrease sinus inflammation, which is the first step toward relief. Salmon, tuna, herring, sardines and other fatty fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their significant anti-inflammatory effects.
The carotenoids and flavonoids in berries, cherries, beets, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, dark leafy greens and other colorful fruits and vegetables have also been shown to reduce inflammation. Antibacterial Foods Antibacterial foods can help your body fight infection, too. Garlic, which has long been used as a medicinal food, is widely valued for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It's also prized for its antibacterial properties, which are generally attributed to allicin, the compound that gives raw garlic its pungency. Cooking garlic may deactivate this compound, but the Linus Pauling Institute notes that some researchers suggest letting chopped garlic rest for 10 minutes before cooking with it.
Ginger is another anti-inflammatory, antibacterial food, as are onions and limes. According to the "Encyclopedia of Healing Foods," lime juice has been shown to both protect against bacterial infection and boost immune system response.
Other Considerations Treating a sinus infection means reducing inflammation and relieving symptoms, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Although this typically involves prescription-strength nasal sprays, antihistamines, decongestants or even antibiotics, your dietary choices can have an impact on your recovery. Staying hydrated and eating a whole-foods-based diet is only one half of the equation, however -- increasing your consumption of fluids and anti-inflammatory foods is far more effective if you also avoid the sugar, unhealthy fats and other highly processed foods that promote inflammation and inhibit immune system function.