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Sinusitis and Elimination Diet

Read more about Elimination Diet.

Overview

People use elimination diets to test for sensitivities to gluten, eggs, dairy, nuts, specific fruits, and other foods. This can be a low-cost natural way to understand more about how your body responds to different foods and substances.

Find other natural remedies for sinus infections.

Effect of Elimination Diet on Sinusitis

Some people may have a food allergy or food sensitivity that causes excess mucus production, or might even compromise their immune function, leaving them more susceptible to infectious agents. An elimination diet is a way to test yourself for food sensitivities. With this method, you deliberately eliminate specific foods to see if your health improves when you don't eat those foods. After a specific period of avoidance (typically 7-14 days), you reintroduce the suspected food(s) into your diet and see what symptoms, if any, you experience.

Side Effects and Warnings

Elimination diets are for testing yourself for food sensitivities, not food allergies. Some food allergies can be life-threatening, so do not experiment with foods that you know or suspect you might have a severe reaction to.

How to do an Elimination Diet

There are many ways you can go about doing an elimination diet. It may take some time to discover and confirm your sensitivities, so a few rounds may be necessary. Consider testing yourself for some or all of the following foods, which many people are sensitive to:

  • Gluten (found in wheat and other grains, and derivatives of these grains)
  • Soy
  • Eggs Dairy (especially from cows, and especially pasteurized milk and products made from it)*
  • Corn
  • Sugar
  • Nuts (especially peanuts)
  • Vegetables from the nightshade family (potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes)
  • Citrus fruits

The following are two ways you can do an elimination diet. There are many other methods, but these are two of the most common:

Method A: If you think you know the specific food(s) that might be sensitive to, you can selectively eliminate those foods from your normal diet. Experts even a few months). After this period, you can add back one food at a time in intervals of 2-5 days, and see if or how your body responds.

For instance, if you want to test soy and dairy, you will avoid all soy- and dairy-containing foods for 7-14 days. On day 8 or 15, you can reintroduce soy by eating a tofu stir-fry. Wait 2-5 days and see if and how your body responds. After your test period for soy is up, you would then go through the same process with dairy.

Symptoms to look for:

  • Phlegm
  • Sinus issues
  • Sleepiness after a meal
  • "Brain fog" or fuzzy thinking
  • A change in your bowel movements, such as diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Nausea or cramps
  • Stuffy nose
  • Itchy skin
  • Achy joints
  • Etc.--symptoms can be many and vary from person to person

Method B: If you suspect that you have food sensitivities but aren't sure which foods are the culprit, you can go on a special diet and then re-introduce foods as you would in Method A. This special diet is recommended by Liz Lipski, PhD, a well-respected clinical nutritionist and author. The diet excludes most of the foods that people tend to be sensitive to. For 7-14 days, you eat fruits (minus citrus), vegetables (minus the nightshade family, which includes bell peppers, white potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants), and white rice. You can use olive oil and safflower oil for cooking and salad dressings or marinades. If you want extra protein, you can make smoothies with enriched rice protein. On day 8 or 15, re-introduce one category of food at a time, in intervals of 2-5 days, looking for symptoms such as the ones listed above.

*Dairy is quite possibly the most common sensitivity for people suffering from sinus issues. It might be the easiest to try eliminating dairy from your diet fully, see if the symptoms clear up, and then add it back in and see if your symptoms worsen.

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