• Food Cures: Sinus Congestion

    You’re feeling stopped up. Some over the counter meds work, but they can have side effects. Sometimes you feel too wound up, or too dried out, or maybe just out of it.

    Lucky for you, simple diet changes can go a long way towards clearing up your congestion. It’s a bit of trial and error at first, but soon you will know what stops you up, and what clears you up. The main goal is reducing inflammation in the body. Food is one important factor, but stress reduction is also essential.

    Biggest Congesters

    Mucus is tough to clear. It’s sticky and just sort of hangs around. To give a congestion-free diet a chance, you’ll need to eliminate the offending foods completely for a couple weeks.

    Dairy You’ve probably heard that dairy can cause you to produce more mucus, and more congestion. Have you tried eliminating it from your diet to see if it helps yet? You may not even notice a difference since it happens so slow, but try having a piece of cheese or some milk after being off of dairy for awhile. You will probably notice instant worstening of congestion. If so, keep dairy out of your diet.
    Wheat Wheat can also cause more mucus in the body, because it contains things like gluten (think “glue”), which are hard to digest, and therefore leave a thick residue in your body. Cut the wheat out for a week and see what happens. You might notice your nose doesn’t run as much, or your thinking is clearer.
    Sugar Sugar causes inflammation, which often shows up as sinus congestion. There are so many reasons to cut down on sugar, this is just another incentive.
    Other inflammatory foods You can be intolerant to many foods, and those can be developed over time. The most common are gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, and corn. Polyunsaturated vegetable oils, especially when used for deep frying foods, are cause systemic inflammation. Processed foods, especially those with a long shelf life, are also best avoided.

    Food to Clear You Up

    Radishes Radishes have a pungent flavor, which breaks up the phlegm to help clear it out of the body. I mentioned before that phlegm is sticky. Pungent foods, like radishes, are excellent at un-sticking mucus. Daikon radish are popular for this, and can be shredded with carrots and eaten as a salad. You can also add it to soups, or make a medicinal tea with it. It might be a new flavor for your pallet, so keep the end goal in mind. Natures medicine. Horseradish is also beneficial, and is traditionally eaten with heavy, mucus forming foods like meat to balance out the dish.
    Other pungent foods Garlic, fresh ginger, scallions, shallots, elder flower, fennel, turnip, watercress, peppermint, spearmint, hot peppers*
    Anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory foods Apples, fennel, carrots, watercress, butternut squash, cauliflower, peppermint, holy basil, fresh thyme, fresh ginger, lotus root, dandelion leaf, olive leaf, lemongrass

    Another way to use food is topically. If you are stuffed up from dry, swollen nasal passages, simply dab a drop of coconut oil into the inner rim of your nose using your smallest finger.

    Other Possible Offenders

    Hot Peppers If you are prone to sinus infections with yellow mucus, avoid hot peppers. Adding more heat to stuck mucus will cause that phlegm to transform into an even bigger problem, Phlegm-Heat. When your normal clear mucus turns yellow, we call that phlegm-heat in chinese medicine. At that point, we need to not only clear the phlegm, but also clear the heat out of the body, too.
    Alcohol, Chocolate For the same reasons as the hot peppers
    Cold foods Eating frozen or cold foods can weaken your body, which can cause more mucus production. If you are prone to bloating after meals, feeling cold, or a drippy nose, cold foods can make this worst. Enjoy warm cooked foods, and ginger tea instead.

    I consider Chinese herbs to be highly specialized foods. We have very effective herbal formulas for clearing up sinus congestion, whether it is due to allergies, colds, or anything else. They can not only treat the symptoms, but also the root of the problem. These formulas are recommended based on your body’s unique constitutional needs, by qualified Licensed Acupuncturists (LAc’s).

    Acupuncture can also give symptom relief, and treat the underlying cause of sinus congestion. It’s all natural, safe, and has no side effects!

    Try Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, and Find Lasting Relief From Sinus Congestion! If you are in Denver, schedule today!