Figuring out what’s causing your runny nose can be confusing. Colds, flu, allergies, and sinusitis all have similar symptoms — stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, facial pressure and fatigue occur in all the above. Only a doctor can say for sure which condition you have and if you have a sinus infection, you feel stuffed-up and tired, your face is tender and swollen and headache pain and pressure increase when you bend over with accumulation of yellow-green mucus. With a simple cold, the mucus is generally clear.
Researches indicate that breathing smoke or fumes can trigger a bout with sinusitis even if your sinuses are healthy. But if your membranes are already weakened by pollution, you are even more likely to get infections. This chronic irritation to nasal passages might lead to nasal allergies, a major cause of sinusitis. Fungi is another prime cause of sinus problem but it is also caused by taking a lot of antibiotics that can destroy the good bacteria, making the way clear for an overgrowth of fungi. The body reacts to this imbalance by sending white blood cells to the nose and sinuses to combat the problem and these results in inflammation, increased swelling of the mucous membrane and sinusitis.
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.
Apricots, strawberries, parsley, mangoes, cantaloupe, kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, black beans, whole wheat bread.
Dairy products, sugar in large amounts, wine, alcohol, etc.
Source: www.timesofman.com; Monika Seth; October 2, 2014.