11 Foods That Help Prevent & Treat Nasal Polyps
If you're looking for ways to prevent and treat nasal polyps naturally, think food! There are a number of foods that have polyp-fighting properties, and incorporating these super-foods into your eating plan might be just what you need to keep nasal polyps away.
After getting familiar with the below listed foods that can help prevent and get rid of nasal polyps, go the recipe section of this Guide to Nasal Polyps and Food – the recipes featured in that section call for some of the very best polyp-fighting foods.
Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries due to its beneficial effects on a wide range of diseases and conditions. It has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties, which is why this powerful root plant of the ginger family may also help prevent nasal polyps. Turmeric is a key ingredient in Indian style curries, but its range of culinary uses is in fact much wider. It can be used to add flavor to fish, seafood, meat, rice, vegetable, and pasta dishes.
#2: Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of the oldest vegetables known to man. They are also one of the most nutritious vegetables and an excellent addition to your diet if you are prone to getting nasal polyps. They are one of the foods that are least likely to cause allergic reactions, which is great news since most nasal polyps are linked to allergies. The pink, orange, and yellow varieties are one of the most concentrated food sources of beta-carotene (the more intense the color, the more beta-carotene). Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin C.
Turbo-charge your anti-polyp diet by regularly consuming pineapple. In addition to being one of the best fruit sources of vitamin C (almost as good as oranges), pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme with wide-ranging activity. Evidence suggests that bromelain may help treat inflammation and swelling of the nose and sinuses. Be aware, however, that most of the bromelain in pineapple is in the stem which is not as tasty and juicy as the flesh but which is nevertheless edible.
Research indicates that mushrooms may help alleviate allergies, which are often associated with nasal polyps. These health benefits of mushrooms maybe linked to their high selenium content. One cup of crimini mushrooms provides almost a third of the recommended daily intake for selenium. The polyp-fighting effects of selenium are based on its role in the antioxidant system of the body: selenium is a key component of many enzymes involved in antioxidant defense.
Since ancient times, garlic has been used as a remedy for a vast range of ailments. Recent research has shown garlic to be effective at maintaining cardiovascular health and at preventing cancer. Eating garlic on a daily basis may also help prevent and treat nasal polyps and associated symptoms due to its ability to inhibit the activity of certain enzymes that generate inflammatory prostaglandins and thromboxanes. Additionally, garlic, especially fresh garlic, contains a fair amount of vitamin C. It is also a good source of selenium, with one cup of raw garlic providing almost 30% of the recommended daily intake for an average adult.
Provided that you are not allergic to fish, anchovies are an excellent food to add to your shopping list. Anchovies are very high in selenium, with a mere ounce of anchovies containing about 28% of the recommended daily intake for selenium. What's more, anchovies are an excellent source of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids which may protect against nasal polyps. At the same time, anchovies contain only low levels of mercury compared to many other fish.
#7: Dandelion Greens
If you can develop a liking for their bitter taste, these unsung nutritional stars will reward you with a slew of nutrients that are thought to combat nasal polyps. Dandelion leaves are one of the best sources of beta-carotene, but they are also a very good source of vitamin C and a fairly good source of vitamin E. Fresh dandelion greens can be used in salads or they can be made into a herbal tea. If you cannot get used to their strong flavor, dandelion supplements are also available in many health stores.
Although not a food, water is included in this list because it helps hydrate the body and moisten the mucous membranes to keep allergens out. As a general rule, 6-8 glasses of water a day should be sufficient, unless you are physically active during the day in which case your body will require significantly more water.
#9: Mustard Greens
Chock-full of antioxidants and nutrients, mustard greens can make an excellent addition to your diet if you are susceptible to nasal polyps and/or asthma attacks. In addition to being one of the best sources of beta-carotene, they provide a good amount of vitamin C and vitamin E. The nutrients in mustard greens can scavenge free radicals that can cause respiratory problems (often associated with nasal polyps) in susceptible people. Mustard greens with their distinctly peppery flavor are available throughout the year and can be found in the produce section of your local supermarket.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but did you know that apples can also keep nasal polyps away? Apples are one of the best food sources of quercetin—a bioflavonoid that has been shown to effectively protect against allergic reactions (allergies are associated with nasal polyps). Quercetin works its protective magic by stabilizing the cell membranes of mast cells and basophils, thereby preventing them from releasing a load of histamine. Histamine is what causes the symptoms associated with allergies. Enjoy apples plain as a simple snack, slice into oatmeal, or toss in a fruit salad!
#11: Turnip Greens
Turnip greens are the leaves of the turnip plant, an ancient vegetable that was first cultivated in the Near East about 4,000 years ago. Due to their high concentration of beta-carotene and vitamin C, turnip greens can help fight nasal polyps. Turnip belongs to the Brassica genus of plants, which comprises a number of other health-promoting plants including broccoli, cabbage, and collards.
For further information on nasal polyps and nutrition, see: