The Link between Diets High in Gluten and the Development of Sinusitis
Sinuses are air-filled spaces in the skull lined with mucus membranes. Healthy sinuses do not contain bacteria or other germs. Mucus is drained out the natural way that results in normal circulation of air in the nasal passages. But if the sinuses fall prey to bacterial, viral or fungal infection, a condition known as sinusitis is brought on. The air-filled spaces get blocked because of excess mucus.
Gluten is a protein compound found in foods processed from wheat, barley and rye. If you are allergic to gluten, it could be one of the causes of sinusitis.
How is gluten allergy caused?
Gluten, a composite of prolamin and glutelin is known to cause allergic reactions in some people. When food containing gluten is consumed, the sinus cavity gets inflamed and swollen. It can result in the blockage of mucus and cause subsequent infection. When the human body does not identify gluten as safe, it is countered by IgE or immunoglobulin E antibodies. This reaction triggers the release of natural chemicals known as histamines that play a role in allergic responses. The release of histamines triggers an inflammatory reaction.
When the sinuses become inflamed as a result of gluten allergy, mucus is trapped in them and not drained out of the nostrils. The mucus stagnates and creates a proactive environment for fungi, viruses and bacteria to develop. This results in sinus infection or sinusitis.
Ensuring a gluten free diet
People prone to sinusitis because of gluten allergy must take care to avoid foods that are wheat based. Food items made of wheat by-products should also be avoided. Labels on food products will always indicate the ingredients used in the product. Make sure that the food you consume does not contain semolina, starch, bulgur, gram flour, bread crumbs, bran, starch, spelt, couscous or high protein flour.
Available alternatives to gluten
There are many food products easily available in the market, which are gluten free. Potato, coconut, corn, rice and soy are easily available alternatives. Foods labelled gluten free are safe to be consumed. It is advisable to consume food cooked at home. If you are eating out, ensure that you order gluten free dishes.
Blood test to determine food allergy
You must consult your doctor if you suspect a gluten allergy to be the cause of your sinusitis. The doctor could suggest a blood test, which is possibly the only way to determine if you are allergic to a specific food item.