Watery eyes and a runny nose are unavoidable while eating hot, spicy food. Luckily, this effect can be beneficial if you are someone who suffers from sinusitis, or sinus infections. Sinus infections are painful and may require the use of antibiotics to clear up; however, many spices are natural decongestants. They work by thinning mucus and reducing your risk for blockages and infections. Try spicing up your diet to prevent painful sinus infections.
Curry spices, chili pepper, garlic and onion are responsible for much of the aroma, flavor and vibrant colors of Indian cuisine. These four spices are all considered helpful for decreasing sinus congestion. Traditional Indian dishes can seem extremely spicy for American taste buds. Often times, waiters at Indian restaurants will ask how spicy you would like your food. Go for medium or hot when looking to clear out your sinuses. You can always ask for extra rice to ease the burn. Along with your meal, have a mango lassi. This sweet, yogurt-based drink will tone down the spice to help you handle the heat.
Hot Dog Decongestants
Next time you are at a barbeque, skip the ketchup and opt for spicy mustard or horseradish with your hamburger or hotdog. Raw chopped onions are another great topping to ramp up the heat. Not only will these flavors increase mucus flow in your nose, but they may also help with chest congestion. As a health bonus, mustard and onions contain different anti-oxidants that can protect your health in the long-term as well.
Black Pepper and Thyme
Other helpful spices for the sinusitis-prone include black pepper and thyme. Keep dried thyme in your pantry and add it to roasted vegetables like green beans or potatoes. Grow fresh thyme in your garden or a window planter. When the leaves are ready, wash and chop fresh thyme to mix in salads or to sprinkle on top of homemade pizza. Black pepper is a staple in many households. It's inexpensive and generally acceptable for most tastes. Keep peppercorns in a spice grinder and sprinkle over main dishes.
While spicy food may not be the end-all-be-all cure for sinus infections, they can help to thin mucus and reduce your chances of developing an infection. Many spices, particularly garlic, have antibiotic properties that also help strengthen the immune system. Adding more spice to your diet can provide more flavor and anti-oxidants, boosting the quality and interest of your diet. Along with Indian cuisine, Thai food and Latin American dishes are also famous for their spicy characteristics.