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Can a Gluten Free Diet Help Sinus Infections?

by
author image Diane Marks
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Can a Gluten Free Diet Help Sinus Infections?
A bowl of oatmeal. Photo Credit Azurita/iStock/Getty Images

Gluten is not a common cause of sinus infections, unless you’re allergic to gluten. Gluten is one of the four most common proteins found in wheat that causes an allergic reaction. During an allergic reaction, your sinus cavity can become inflamed and swell, which leads to blockage of mucus and an infection. If you suspect that your sinus infections are the result of an allergy to gluten, talk with your doctor for an adequate evaluation and diagnosis.

Gluten Allergy

Gluten is found in wheat and is considered a common food allergen. If you’re allergic to gluten, your immune system creates allergy-fighting antibodies when you ingest it, according to MayoClinic.com. The body doesn’t identify the protein as safe and therefore creates IgE antibodies to protect the body. This causes other chemicals in the body to be produced, such as histamine. Histamine is released in mast cells, found in soft tissue throughout the body, leading to common food allergy symptoms.

Effect

The presence of histamine in the sinus tissue causes inflammation and swelling to occur. When the sinuses become inflamed, mucus becomes trapped throughout the cavity and cannot drain out of the nostrils properly. The stagnate mucus creates the ideal environment for viruses, bacteria and fungi to develop, which leads to a sinus infection, according to the University of Maryland’s Medical Center. A sinus infection can cause a fever, chills, sinus pressure, facial tenderness and sinus headaches.

Gluten-Free Diet

The most effective way to prevent and treat a gluten allergy that causes sinusitis is to avoid wheat products or products containing wheat by-products. The Cleveland Clinic recommends reading all product labels before ingesting the product. Look for the following ingredients: bran, high protein flour, starch, semolina, durum, bulgur, graham flour, farina, bread crumbs, spelt and couscous. Food manufacturers must disclose the use of any wheat in a pre-packaged food by law. Look for this disclosure and avoid eating the product.

Considerations

Because gluten is a protein found in wheat, you can find products made with different types of flour that are gluten-free. These flours may include potato flour, rice flour, oat flour, corn flour or soy-based flour. Some pre-packaged foods are marketed as gluten-free and can be trusted. Some foods, such as ketchup or ice cream may contain gluten, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It is best to prepare your own foods at home and to always let your server know you have a gluten allergy when eating out.

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