Nasal polyps are a benign form of cancerous or tumorous growth along the lining of the sinuses. This growth results in blockage, affecting airflow, resulting in breathing problems. Chronic inflammation is a known trigger that may lead to the development of nasal polyps. Also, there are several allergens found in the environment and foods that can result in frequent flare-ups.
Avoiding exposure to these allergens is an effective way to counter the said discomforts. However, making a few dietary changes can also ease the inflammation and may very well prevent the formation of nasal polyps. Here are the foods to eat and avoid.
The foods to incorporate are as follows:
- Foods with capsaicin
Capsaicin helps relieve inflammation and opens up nasal passages from the inside to stimulate better breathing and de-clog congestion. Capsaicin is the primary element in cayenne pepper and is one of the best natural food elements that helps overcome sinus infections. You can make a red cayenne pepper tea and have it a couple of times in the day. Alternatively, you can purchase capsaicin topical supplements or nasal spray to tackle the congestion from the outside. Use the spray as per your doctor’s instructions only.
- Foods that fight free radicals
Most of these polyp growths are caused due to the increasing level of free radicals in the body. Flavonoids are natural antioxidants that help boost immunity and fight the free radicals causing cell damage. Regular consumption of foods that are rich in these compounds helps prevent the growth of nasal polyps. And there are a number of options when it comes to flavonoid and quercetin-rich foods. Bright-colored plants, vegetables, and fruits, including apples, red grapes, citrus fruits, cherries, raspberries, cranberries, red onions, capers, and broccoli, are extremely rich in these compounds.
- Foods rich in vitamins
Vitamins play a crucial role in protecting the membrane of the sinus lining and are a great source of antioxidants to help fight the polyp-causing free radicals. Most bright-colored foods are loaded with essential vitamins, including A, C, E, and other beta carotenes, which help prevent oxidative tissue damage. Popular veggies include carrots, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin, turnip greens, cabbage, squash, peas, and red peppers. Nutrient-rich fruits, such as oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruits, apricots, melons, mango, cantaloupes, berries and guava, also help counter the production of oxygen molecules (oxidative damage) that contribute to the growth of nasal polyps.
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and selenium
Omega 6 is bad for health and must be avoided at all costs. However, it would help if you included foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids to help boost immunity and counter the inflammation. Remember, inflammation is one of the primary triggers of nasal polyps, and anti-inflammatory foods can naturally counter this discomfort with minimal side effects. If you prefer to eat fish, anchovies are a great source of omega 3. Halibut, salmon, mackerel, and sardines are popular alternatives for a more varied omega-3-rich diet. Selenium is another essential antioxidant to combat the inflammation triggered by mushrooms, which is found in Brazil nuts, walnuts, and certain types of red meat.
- Drinking fluids
Staying hydrated is the most crucial requirement to keep polyps at bay. Drinking plenty of fluids helps loosen the mucus and prevents its accumulation in the nasal passage. Mucus attracts the allergens that cause the nasal polyps, so staying hydrated prevents polyps formation caused by an external allergen. Among fluids, it is advisable to drink plenty of water and refrain from having carbonated or flavored beverages.
The foods to avoid
are as follows:
Prevention measures of nasal polyps do not merely stop at eating the right foods. An elimination diet further helps reduce and remove the risk of allergens that cause the polyps to develop. It would help if you refrained from indulging in the following foods and beverages to prevent the inflammation from flaring up.
- Foods that cause allergies
Allergens are the top triggers of nasal polyps, and certain foods that cause these allergies include gluten, soy, eggs, dairy, and yeast products. Among allergens are additives and preservatives that may result in inflammation. These are mainly found in processed foods, canned vegetables, and carbonated beverages. Additives and preservatives are useful for prolonging the shelf life of foods. But at the same time, these antimicrobial preservatives, artificial food coloring, and flavor enhancers compromise the nutrition value of the foods. It is best to avoid allergen triggers and switch to organic substitutes free from benzoate, glutamate, and sulfite. Natural foods, ingredients, and condiments help boost immunity.
Home remedy for
Using a small pot (neti pot) filled with water, you can flush out your sinuses and nasal passages over the sink. The technique of using the neti pot is called nasal irrigation and is an effective sinus-relieving remedy. The water helps remove the excess mucus and dirt accumulated in the nasal passage to open up the airways. Like the workings of a nasal spray, the lukewarm water mixed with salt should help clean the area surrounding the polyp’s growth with a more hands-on approach.