Nutrition and Sinusitis

Last Updated Jul 28, 2020

Whilst everyone’s body reacts differently, the food we eat can trigger and impact the frequency and intensity of Sinusitis attacks. Science has demonstrated connections between blocked sinuses and certain foods, as well as food allergies that incite an allergic response in the sinuses themselves.

Many Western Medical Practitioners very quickly look to treat Sinusitis with many harsh medications and surgery, when symptoms could instead be eliminated with a simple, balanced diet and avoidance of certain dietary triggers. Please read on for more information.

What is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis is the term used to describe an inflammatory condition of the sinuses, which are small airspaces within the bones around the eyes, cheeks and forehead.

Everybody has four pairs of sinuses that have small openings that connect the nasal cavity. The nose and sinuses are both lined by the same type of membrane, and when the latter is working efficiently, airflow is accommodated, as is the mucous that drains from the sinuses into the nose.

When any of these cavities becomes inflamed, the drainage process is inhibited thus creating the ideal environment for congestion and infection, resulting finally in Sinusitis

Common causes of Sinusitis include:

  • Bacterial infections, which often result from cold and flu.
  • Allergies, especially to air-born allergens and certain foods.
  • Hay fever Inhalation of harsh chemical fumes. 
  • Minor anatomical abnormalities.

Sinusitis may be acute or chronic, depending on the length and frequency of the Sinusitis episode itself. Acute Sinusitis often follows a respiratory infection and only lasts a few weeks, whereas chronic Sinusitis often lasts for two months or more. Chronic sinusitis can truly make ones life miserable, as symptoms are more severe and debilitating, preventing the person from participating in everyday life.

Symptoms of Sinusitis

Symptoms of Sinusitis include:

  • Blocked or runny noses and blocked airways.
  • Thick green/yellow mucous discharge from the nose.
  • Congested feeling in the head.
  • Post-nasal drip (discharge at the back of throat originating from the nasal passages).
  • Loss of smell and taste.
  • Fatigue.
  • Swollen/sore throat.Throbbing headaches.
  • Touch and light sensitivity around the eyes, jaw and nose.
  • Puffy, dark bags or rings beneath the eyes.
  • Toothache (rare).

Foods for Sinusitis

The below foods carry anti-bacterial/fungal/inflammatory properties that all assist in reducing sinus congestion:

  • Foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids, such as cold-water fish (Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel, Anchovies), Fish and Linseed oils, Avocado, nuts, seeds and eggs. These essential fatty acids act as a natural anti-inflammatory, reducing sinus swelling and congestion.
  • Garlic, which may boost immunity levels enabling you to more easily fight off a Sinus infection.
  • Foods containing high amounts of Vitamin C, such as Citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli and blueberries. The Vitamin C reduces inflammation; boost overall immunity levels and acts as a natural anti-histamine.
  • Pineapple, which contains the bromelain enzyme known for its anti-inflammatory and decongestive properties.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar, which is rich in the Potassium that functions to break down mucous production.
  • Water, which should be consumed in large amounts to prevent the mucous membranes from drying out and a consequent congestion taking place.
  • Foods that eliminate Candida yeast from the gut (which has linked to Sinusitis), such as cold pressed oils (such as Olive oil) and most fresh vegetables.

Foods to avoid with Sinusitis

Certain foods are renown for causing Sinusitis and Sinus headaches.

Foods that should be avoided include:

  • Dairy products, which have been associated with the production of phlegm and mucous. These may be replaced Rice products as Soy may also occasionally cause mucous to thicken.
  • Spicy foods, which may trigger acid reflux that can trigger an episode of Sinusitis.
  • Alcohol, which dehydrates the body thus hardens mucous and inflames sinus and nasal membranes. It may also trigger acid reflux that may aggravate the condition.
  • Caffeine, a diuretic that dehydrates the nasal membranes. Coffee should especially be avoided as it is acidic as well and may cause acid reflux from the stomach.

It is also worth avoiding eating meals late at night as this may cause acid reflux in the stomach that may trigger a Sinusitis attack.

If the symptoms of your Sinusitis are persistent and worsening, a medical investigation may be warranted, as they may be indicative of underlying disease. If you are interested in finding out more information on how foods may heal your Sinusitis, please contact a professional Naturopath or Nutritionist. 

Find out about other effective natural sinusitis treatments.


Originally published on Sep 30, 2010

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