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Boost your immunity

health-and-fitness Updated: Jul 11, 2010 19:21 IST
Dr Anjali Mukherjee
Dr Anjali Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Sinusitis is just not a simple headache that you may experience occasionally. It is an inflammation of the mucous membrane in the sinus cavities behind the forehead, cheekbones and between and behind the eyes.

While an occasional attack is understandable, there are many people who suffer from chronic sinusitis. The reasons could be a weak immune system, environmental pollution, allergies caused by pollen, wheat and dairy products, or intolerance to strong fragrances and perfumes.

TomatoesIn such cases, once you get a sinus attack, you’re almost always prone to getting more in the future. Many medicines promise lifelong relief, but in fact, only offer temporary reprieve.

Miracle foods
While severe cases require the administration of antibiotics, you cannot use them for a lifetime. The best way to stave off recurrent sinus attacks is to boost the immune system by including some miracle foods in your diet. Some of these are:

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are an excellent source of immunity-enhancing nutrients like lycopene, vitamin C and vitamin K. They keep your body nourished and strengthen your immunity. You can eat them raw, as in salads, in juice form or making a hot soup out of them.

Ginger: Ginger is critical in fighting colds, coughs, sinus and bronchial infections. Since it has antioxidants, ginger inhibits the formation of inflammatory compounds and helps to reduce swelling and pain.

Garlic: Garlic is a potent source of allicin and other infection-fighting nutrients. Having raw garlic is the best way to beat sinusitis. But if you don’t like the flavour of raw garlic, you can breathe in the steam of garlic-infused water. Garlic reduces inflammation of the blocked sinus passages, reduces the thickness of mucous and thereby brings instant relief from your sinus ailments.

Black pepper: It is very effective in preventing bacterial infections in the mouth, colon, digestive system and urinary tract. In fact, it disinfects foods in which it is added and infuses them with its protective properties. A concoction prepared with black pepper, clove, ginger, tulsi leaves and cinnamon, can serve as an effective
remedy for sinusitis. You can add some honey to it for flavour.

Pimpli: Pimpli is a traditional Ayurvedic herb sourced from roots and fruits of the pimpli plant. It helps to relieve cough, cold and sinusitis. It is also useful to treat chronic bronchitis, asthma and diseases of the spleen.

Other measures:
Natural therapies are safe and user friendly. Here are a few helpful ones:

Gargle with salted lukewarm water to relieve cough, avoid cold and oily food and include vitamin A and C-rich foods on a regular basis in your diet.

These include coloured fruits and vegetables like mangoes, papayas, melons, tomatoes, amla and green leafy vegetables. Raw carrot juice and radish juice are effective treatments against sinusitis. Avoid dairy and wheat products if you are allergic to them.

-Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.