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Are There Foods That Open Up the Sinuses?

By Eliza Martinez

A sinus infection is caused by a virus, bacteria or fungus and causes the tissues in your sinus cavity to become inflamed. This often makes if difficult to breathe, increases mucus drainage and makes the area around your nose and eyes painful. If you have chronic sinus pain, talk with your doctor about medication or other treatment options. In the meantime, certain foods can help open your sinuses and alleviate some of your discomfort.

Hot Soup

Soup is a comfort food that many people rely on to feel better during an illness. If you have clogged sinuses, a bowl of hot soup may clear them up enough that you are able to breathe easier. Try hot chicken soup throughout the day, which moisturizes your mucus membranes, flushing them out more quickly. The temperature of the soup helps slow down the production of fluid in your sinuses, whereas cold liquids have the opposite effect. For this reason, warm your beverages as well, recommends the Whole Living website.

Spicy Foods

The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that eating spicy foods may help clear your sinuses. This allows you to breathe easier and feel less discomfort as you recover. Many Mexican foods are spicy and will help you feel better. Try burritos or enchiladas topped with green chili or add sliced jalapenos to nachos and tacos. If you enjoy eating sushi, add plenty of wasabi paste, a spicy condiment that will clear up your sinuses. Horseradish is another condiment that is spicy and is a good addition to a roast beef sandwich. Some types of Italian sausage are spicy so adding them to your next batch of spaghetti sauce could offer some sinus relief.


Pineapple contains bromelain, a nutrient that has anti-inflammatory properties. A review in the September 2006 issue of "Alternative Medicine Review" reports that bromelain indeed thins mucus secretions and reduces inflammation. When you eat it, you may experience a reduction in the swelling of your sinuses that makes it easier to breathe through your nose. Try adding pineapple to a fruit salad or a smoothie when you are suffering from a sinus infection.

Spices, Seasonings and Herbs

Some foods that you use in small amounts to add flavor to your meals could clear up your sinuses, according to the UCLA's Explore Integrative Medicine. Garlic and onions are two such items and are versatile enough to be used in a variety of ways. Add sliced raw onions to salads or sandwiches and throw chopped garlic into soup or marinades. Cayenne pepper is spicy and has anti-inflammatory benefits. Try some on popcorn or steamed rice. Rosemary can also reduce the inflammation associated with a sinus infection and is a good addition to Italian sauces or as a seasoning on grilled meats and vegetables.

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