Nasal polyps are benign growths along the lining of the sinuses that result in a blockage, affecting airflow, which can cause breathing problems, apart from chronic inflammation. Also, various allergens are found in the environment and in foods that can result in nasal polyps. Avoiding exposure to these allergens can help reduce nasal polyps flareups. This can be done through changes in daily meals. Here are the foods to eat and avoid.
Foods to incorporate
Capsaicin is a naturally occurring component found in foods like a variety of peppers. It helps to relieve inflammation and open the nasal passages to stimulate better breathing and de-clog the congestion. It is one of the main elements in cayenne pepper and one of the best natural foods to help overcome sinus infections with nasal polyps. Doctors suggest making red cayenne pepper tea and drinking it a couple of times in the day to reduce flareups. Alternatively, capsaicin topical supplements or nasal sprays are also available as OTC (over-the-counter) or prescription medications. However, it is recommended to use the spray as per the doctor’s instructions.
Antioxidants like red onions, cherries, and cranberries
It has been observed that most nasal polyp growths result from the increasing levels of free radicals in the body. Flavonoids are natural antioxidants that fight the free radicals causing cell damage and help boost immunity. Regularly consuming foods rich in these antioxidants can help prevent the growth of nasal polyps. There are various options when it comes to foods rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and quercetin. Some foods include bright-colored vegetables like red onions, capers, and broccoli and fruits including apples, citrus fruits, red grapes, cherries, cranberries, and raspberries. These foods are also easy to incorporate into your daily meals, and hence they can prevent the risk of developing nasal polyps.
Rainbow foods like melons, mangoes, carrots, and spinach
Vitamins are crucial in protecting the membrane of the sinus lining. These nutrients are also a great source of antioxidants that fight free radicals and prevent nasal polyps. Most bright-colored fruits and vegetables are full of essential vitamins, including A, C, E, and other beta carotenes that prevent oxidative stress and tissue damage. Popular veggies rich in vitamin C include spinach, pumpkin, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, turnip greens, squash, peas, and red peppers. Apart from this, fruits like limes, oranges, grapefruits, lemons, apricots, melons, cantaloupes, mango, berries, and guava can also help counter the oxidative stress leading to oxidative damage that contributes to the growth of nasal polyps.
Fatty fish, walnuts, mushrooms, and more
Fatty acids like omega-6 are harmful to health if in excess and must be avoided in daily meals. However, at the same time, it is important to include foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids as it boosts immunity and counters inflammation. Doctors suggest inflammation is one of the primary triggers of nasal polyps, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can naturally ease this discomfort with minimal or no side effects. Fish, anchovies, halibut, mackerel, salmon, and sardines can be consumed for a more varied omega-3-rich diet. Apart from this, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, edamame, and kidney beans are vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Selenium is another essential antioxidant that fights inflammation. It is abundantly found in foods like Brazil nuts, mushrooms, walnuts, certain types of red meat, and fish, including cod and halibut.
Staying hydrated is one of the most crucial factors for managing nasal polyps. Drinking plenty of fluids dilutes and loosens mucus, thereby preventing it from accumulating in the nasal passage. Mucus is one of the risk factors for developing nasal polyps as it attracts allergens that cause the same. So, staying hydrated can help prevent polyps. While staying hydrated, make sure to stick to water and avoid indulging in carbonated and flavored beverages.
Foods to avoid
Nasal polyps cannot be prevented by simply eating the right foods, but you also have to eliminate certain foods from your daily meals. This can remove or at least reduce the risk of allergens that cause nasal polyps to develop inside the sinuses. Doctors recommend refraining from indulging in the following foods and beverages to prevent the same.
Dairy products, eggs, soy, and gluten
Allergens increase the risk of developing nasal polyps, and certain foods can cause these flareups. Foods like soy, gluten, eggs, dairy, and yeast products are some of the top triggers of nasal polyps.
Canned veggies and other processed foods
These contain allergens in the form of additives and preservatives that may result in inflammation. Additives and preservatives are useful for prolonging the shelf life of foods. Processed foods such as canned vegetables, meats, and carbonated beverages must be avoided. It is best to avoid all allergen triggers and switch to organic substitutes that are benzoate, glutamate, and sulfite-free food items.
Home remedies for further relief
While there are foods to include and avoid in daily meals, some home remedies can provide relief from nasal polyps.
The technique of nasal irrigation is typically done by using a Neti pot and proves to be quite an effective sinus-relieving remedy. The water helps remove the excess dirt and mucus accumulating in the nasal passage and reduces the risk of nasal polyps, thereby opening the airways.
Lukewarm water mixed with salt can help clean the nasal area reducing the polyp’s growth. This can be passed through the nasal passages with the help of a Neti pot.