You Wouldn’t Think That THIS Could Be Causing Your Sinus Problems
By Brandi Monasco
SINUS PROBLEMS. Most of us have been there. You can’t breathe through your nose. You have so much pain and pressure behind your eyes and cheekbones that your teeth hurt.
Sinus problems cause over 16 million doctor visits and over $150 million spent on prescriptions alone. But this isn’t about the typical sinus infection that many people get once or twice a year; this is the constant sinus problems that affect your daily life. The problems that antibiotics can’t fix.
If you’re like me, dealing with chronic sinusitis is a PAIN. Literally. You just want to make it stop and go away permanently. You see the doctor. They start you on new medications. They work for a bit and then stop. You go back to the doctor and they say that nothing is wrong with you.
You start to wonder, what is going on? What can be done? You try everything you can think of to help alleviate your pain and to reduce your symptoms.
But did you know that one reason why your sinus symptoms are not going away could be because of something that many people eat and drink on a daily basis?
Your sinuses are lined with a thin layer of mucus that traps germs, dust and other particles that might be floating in the air. There are little hair-like projections in the sinuses that move the mucus towards the back of the throat and it then slides into the stomach.
When you have sinus problems, the normal flow of mucus is stopped from the back of the throat. The little hair-like projections become blocked and the nasal tissues begin to swell, trapping the mucus in the sinuses. This is the cause of the pain and pressure.
Drinking or eating dairy products increases nasal secretions and makes mucus thicker, though it does not actually produce it. A protein called casein that is naturally found in dairy products is responsible for the formation and thickening of mucus.
So, if you’re already having sinus congestion and pressure, drinking or eating dairy causes the mucus to thicken and increases the congestion and pressure and often can cause pain, even headaches.
“Casein is also used to make adhesives, like glue, beer bottle labels and wood glue used in furniture. Think about it — if casein can make two objects stick together, imagine what it can do to your sinuses.”
A dairy allergy is not the same as being lactose intolerant. They are two completely different things. A food allergy is an overreaction of your immune system to a specific protein. When you ingest the food, it can trigger an allergic reaction. It’s an allergy just as if you were allergic to dust or a cat.
Lactose intolerance occurs when a person’s small intestine does not make enough of the lactase enzyme, which causes the person to not be able to digest lactose.
How do I know if I have a dairy allergy?
This does not involve a medical allergy test, which some doctors might recommend. The best way to tell if you have a dairy allergy is to stop consuming any and all dairy products for at least 2 weeks. If your stuffiness and congestion eases up or completely goes away, you might have an allergy to dairy.
What if I find out that I do have a dairy allergy?
There are so many foods that you can eat in the place of dairy. Instead of cow milk, try drinking almond milk or coconut milk. You can also replace cheese with vegan or vegetable cheese. When you’re out grocery shopping, make sure you look at the ingredients on the package to make sure that there is no casein, lactose or milk.
Avoid foods that contain milk or any of these ingredients:
- Butter, butter fat, butter oil, butter acid, buttermilk
- Casein hydrolysate
- Caseinates (in all forms)
- Cottage cheese
- Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
- Milk (in all forms, including condensed, derivative, dry, evaporated, goat’s milk and milk from other animals, low-fat, malted, milkfat, nonfat, powder, protein, skimmed, solids, whole)
- Milk protein hydrolysate
- Rennet casein
- Sour cream, sour cream solids
- Sour milk solids
- Whey (in all forms)
- Whey protein hydrolysate
It is hard cutting something out of your diet, especially when you’re so used to eating it, but in the long run, it will be worth it and best of all, you could possibly become sinus congestion and pressure-free!
Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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