to Find Lasting Relief from Nasal Congestion
Dr. Ben Kim
I was a kid, it seemed like I always had a stuffy nose. Sometimes, my nasal congestion
was so bad that I had to keep my mouth wide open in order to breathe. There were
even times when I couldnt fall asleep because I felt like I couldnt
breathe at all.
you know someone who suffers with chronic nasal congestion? Im not referring
to nasal congestion that comes with typically short-term conditions like the common
cold, the flu, a sinus infection, or hay fever. Im referring to people who
feel healthy overall, but cant figure out why they usually feel stuffed
consequences of living with chronic nasal congestion can be disastrous. For a
newborn infant who naturally breathes through her nose, nasal congestion can interfere
with breastfeeding and even cause life-threatening breathing problems.
are some other potential consequences of chronic nasal congestion:
- Poor quality sleep
moments of not breathing during sleep (sleep apnea)
with hearing and speech development in children
list could actually be expanded to include virtually every health condition that
we know of, since poor quality sleep over the long haul is a clear risk factor
for all types of disease and dysfunction.
what can cause a person to have chronic nasal congestion in the absence of a cold,
flu, sinus infection, and hay fever?
two words: food allergies.
people mistakenly believe that having a food-allergic reaction results in a clear
and intense symptom like swelling of the tongue and throat, difficulty breathing,
hives, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, loss of consciousness, or even death.
While all of these symptoms can be caused by food-allergic reactions, many people
experience more subtle reactions. And you guessed it, nasal congestion is one
of the most common subtle food allergic reactions.
How does a food
allergy lead to nasal congestion?
inside of your nose is lined with a mucosal membrane that is lined with countless
blood vessels. You experience nasal congestion when these blood vessels expand
and cause the mucosal membrane to become swollen. Expansion of these blood vessels
can result from inflammation that accompanies a food-allergic reaction. Typically,
this type of inflammation will begin approximately one hour after eating the food
in question, and will last for anywhere between a few minutes to several hours
after exposure to the trigger food, with the exact length of time depending on
the health of your digestive, cardiovascular, and immune systems.
people can be allergic to any food, the following foods account for the majority
of all food-allergic reactions:
Dairy Cooked Eggs Peanuts Tree nuts (walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc) Wheat Soy
my experience, the single most common cause of food-allergic reactions and the
number one cause of chronic nasal congestion in the absence of other health conditions
is pasteurized dairy. Avoiding significant amounts of pasteurized milk, cheese,
ice cream, cream cheese, and other concentrated sources of pasteurized dairy can
completely resolve chronic nasal congestion for many people, even those who have
suffered with nasal congestion for decades.
you are unsure of which foods might be causing your nasal congestion, try eating
a substantial portion of only one of the foods listed above during your next meal
and observe how well you can breathe through your nose and how clear your voice
is in the hours following your meal. You can experiment with a different food
with each subsequent meal over a period of several days until you identify your
is quite possible that you have an allergy to a food not listed above. Over several
days or even a month, you should test all foods that you eat on a regular basis.
In addition to the foods listed above, protein-dense foods like beans, seeds,
and commercially raised animal products tend to have a greater chance of causing
you identify which foods are causing you trouble, it is best to completely avoid
these foods for the time being. At the same time, dont assume that you will
always be allergic to all of the foods that are causing you trouble today. Many
people are able to overcome some of their food allergies through a variety of
lifestyle changes that help to improve the strength of their immune systems, such
as building and maintaining a large population of healthy bacteria in their intestines.
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