Alisha Mehta/ November 8, 2011/ Allergy, Default, General, Sinus/ 6 comments

Chili Peppers to Clear Your Sinuses

November is in full swing and so is the cough/cold season. Don’t let congestion bog you down. The next time you’re feeling a bit stuffed up and want some immediate relief, try reaching for some chili peppers! If you love spicy food, this is the perfect cure for you.

Have you ever eaten spicy food and found that suddenly your stuffy nose was clear? Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that not only makes peppers spicy, but studies have also shown that it reduces sinus symptoms, such as nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, sneezing, coughing, and mucous production.

Capsaicin can be found in all chili peppers except for bell peppers, which have a recessive gene preventing its production. Peppers, such as cayenne, jalapeños, tabasco, birdseye chili, habañeros, and Scotch bonnets all contain capsaicin. Adding them to foods, or using the ground chili powder forms, can help reduce nasal congestion.

A note on wasabi:

It may seem as if wasabi has this same effect on your sinuses. This is because wasabi may react with heat receptors in the nose causing your nostrils to flare and allowing more air into the nasal passages. Your brain is tricked to believe there is less congestion. However, studies have found that wasabi can actually block the sinuses by increasing blood flow to the lining of the nose.

Though wasabi may not work as a decongestant, it does have several health benefits, including antimicrobial properties beneficial for seasoning raw fish. If you’re a fan of wasabi and spice, enjoy!


About Alisha Mehta

My name is Alisha Mehta and I am a graduate student at Tufts University, working on my MS in Nutrition Communications and Didactic Program in Dietetics to become a Registered Dietitian. I grew up in Northern California where the Redwood forests, mountains, and beaches are abundant—of course, all these outdoor opportunities cannot come without allergies. I have been through (and continue to deal with) my fair share of allergy and sinus issues. As a weary sufferer of sinus problems, I became a daily user of Sinus Rinse ever since its development. I am passionate about natural health, food, nutrition, and fitness. Through this blog, I hope to create an ongoing dialogue on sinuses, allergies, and any additional health topics of interest. Please share any and all of your experiences and questions.