Who likes mucus raise your hand? What? No hands went up? Poor, misunderstood mucus.
It seems most people just want to get rid of nasal and sinus mucus. They dry it up, they blow it out, and they wash it away. Even health-nut type people complain about “mucus- producing food” as if mucus is one of the scourges of the earth.
Here’s the truth about nasal and sinus mucus …
Healthy, flowing nasal and sinus mucus is one of the “best friends forever” you’ll ever have. What you don’t want is thick, sticky mucus that slows drainage down.
Normal Nasal and Sinus Mucus is Your Friend
Normally, mucus’ job is to:
•Trap incoming irritants and environmental stressors.
• Move this junk along and out of the sinuses, down the throat, and into the stomach where the GI tract gets rid of it.
• Provide a cozy home atmosphere for good bacterial cells who belong to the mucosal immune defense force.
• KEEP MOVING.
There are two main reasons you want to have nice, normal flowing mucus:
You’ve got a gazillion little moving hairs called cilia inside your sinuses whose job it is to keep the mucus moving steadily towards a teeny, tiny hairpin tube drainage hole (about the size of a pin hole). It’s called the ostium. This one little hole is the drainage system for the sinuses and it is located at the top of the largest sinus. It’s supposed to drain, but it’s at the top – go figure. Ask a plumber if you have a question about the wisdom of this design.
Keeping mucus moving is the cilia’s job, but the thicker your mucus is, the harder it is for cilia to their job.
And if your cilia do manage by a heroic effort to get the thick mucus to the ostium, guess what happens? The ostium can also have a difficult time draining thanks to the thickened mucus.
So, what can you do to help your new B.F.F. do its job?
• Stay hydrated. Drink healthy liquids. Dehydration dries out your mucus.
• Take probiotics to help make a cozy home for good bacteria in your mucus. They help your immune system do its thing.
• Take a supplement that helps keep your mucus flowing normally. N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) has been used for this for over 20 years. It’s also a powerful antioxidant.
• Avoid taking products that dry out your mucus.
3 Common Sinus Health Mistakes
#1 Drying out Your Sinuses
Decongestants and antihistamines may stop your nose from running or help you breathe through your clogged nose, but that relief is temporary at best. In the end, this drying effect is the opposite of what you need.
When your sinuses get too dry, it not only makes your nose irritated and tender; it triggers your body to produce even more mucus. The extra mucus turns into the gunk that gets trapped in your sinuses, resulting in even more sinus congestion.
Plus, you need clear, healthy, slippery mucus to maintain good health. Mucus moistens your sinuses and keeps them clean. Healthy mucus allows soothing, warm air to flow easily through your nose and down to your lungs.
Mucus is also one of the most important players of your immune system. It helps trap and block out unhealthy particles—like bacteria, viruses, and even dust—all of which attempt to enter your nose on a daily basis. In fact, 90% of unhealthy invaders enter your body through your nose!
#2 Shrinking Sinus Tissues
There’s a common belief that the answer to sinus relief lies in shrinking swollen sinus tissues. That is incorrect. While sinuses can get swollen and irritated, it’s what the mucus does to your sinuses that cause all the trouble.
Sinuses are just not designed well. Our sinus openings, called the ostia, are tiny—no bigger than the size of a pin head. So your sinuses are easily blocked by too much mucus, or mucus that’s too dry or sticky. That’s why trying to shrink your sinuses to get some relief rarely helps.
You may not like the way little hairs look when you see them sprouting from your nose, but you should never get rid of them altogether. You need nose hairs to help block the bigger invaders that try to make their way in. Rather than plucking, use a nose hair trimmer instead.
This article was republished with permission from nutri-health.com.