A Diet Aid for Colds

A Diet Aid for Colds and Sinus Troubles

By Edward Podolsky, M.D.*

While for the most part diseased sinuses are treated most effectively by means of the knife, nevertheless within the past three years or so physicians, among them Dr. E. V. Ullmann, have found that certain regulations in the diet are of great value in the treatment of chronic forms of sinus trouble.

In most cases of sinus disorder there is a definite chain of manifestations which are rather characteristic. There is a low resistance against disease, a constant oozing from the linings of the nose and sinuses, and a constant nightmare of little aches and pains.

Low Salt Diet Essential

To overcome these symptoms two physicians, Drs. Gerson and Sauerbruch, in 1930 devised a special diet which was essentially very poor in table salt. It has been found that people who are constantly taking large quantities of salt are not constitutionally able to eliminate it and become on that account veritable human brine pickles. The presence of salt means the presence of water in the tissues. The presence of water in the tissues means a constant, devitalizing exudation from the mucous membranes lining the sinus cavities, and this means the continuation of the sinus affection. Therefore, the first logical step to take in planning the diet for the sinus sufferer is to reduce the intake of salt.

Another interesting thing that biochemists have found in regard to salt is that it has a tendency to expel the vital element calcium from the tissues. Calcium has a marked effect in overcoming inflammation of the tissues in all parts of the body, and as much of it as can be obtained is necessary for success. As salt expels calcium from the body, it has no place in any diet for an inflammatory disease such as sinus trouble.


*Reprinted from New Health (London)


Still another fascinating fact came to light in regard to calcium. It was found that calcium is thrown down by citric acid. Thus all citric acid fruits such as lemons, oranges and grapefruit had best be left out from the diet of the sinus sufferer.

The next point of importance in planning the diet for the sinus sufferer is whether the diet should be alkaline or acid. Most sinus victims suffer from too much acid and for that reason the diet should be on the alkaline side. Thus meat and meat products are restricted as much as possible. Dr. Gerson is very strict in this matter and orders that all meats be eliminated, while Dr. Sauerbruch is somewhat more liberal and allows meats in moderate quantities, about 600 grams per week.

Most doctors at the present time agree that any diet of a particular type, if adhered to for too great a period will lead to unpleasant symptoms. For this reason it becomes essential to vary the diet. Doctor Ullmann regulates the diet as follows. At the outset the restrictions are very drastic. No salt is allowed and the diet consists of fruits and vegetables. Around the fifth to the tenth day there is a marked improvement.

At this time the patient is allowed to return to his natural diet with a limited amount of salt per day. For the following three to five weeks the patient is advised to observe at least two days of restricted diet per week. After this period this is reduced to one day of restricted diet in every seven.

There is nothing complicated in the carrying out of the details of the diet for sinus trouble patients. There are but a few rules which must be kept in mind. All cooked foods should be freshly prepared for each meal. Warmed-up food and self-cookers are to be avoided. Table salt is banished. Baking powder and soda are not permitted.

Sample Dietary for Sinus Sufferers

From the tabulated lists of permitted foods it is possible to construct a great variety of diets. As an example I am giving herewith a sample dietary:

7 a.m.—Cereal (made with liberal quantities of milk, with oats, rice or groats, or tapioca, flavored with one teaspoonful of butter, sugar, cinnamon or vanilla.)

9 a.m.—Coffee with milk and sugar. There should be as much milk as possible. Cocoa or tea may be used if preferred. Bread, butter, marmalade or honey, raw vegetables, such as carrots, turnip, cabbage, cucumber, cauliflower, sorrel, etc. no salt should be used on any of the vegetables.

12 noon.—Soup, salad, jam.

3 p.m.—Cheese, fruit cake, biscuits, butter or marmalade, honey or fruit bread.

6 p.m.—Vegetable dinner, with salt; fruits, tea or coffee with liberal quantities of milk.

Dr. Ullmann has devised a variety of meals suitable for sufferers from sinus disorders. Bread should not be taken with any of the meals in which rice or potatoes are part of the meal.

There is sufficient variety in the listed meals to satisfy even the most finicky and jaded of appetites. Above all, remember there are six points which must be kept constantly in mind when planning the diet for the victim of sinus trouble. These are:

  1. The use of fresh food only.
  2. The restriction of salt.
  3. The preference for alkaline food.
  4. The reduction of animal proteins.
  5. The reduction of carbohydrates.
  6. The use of unrefined carbohydrates whenever possible.


The question of salt is now an easier one to solve than hithereto. There are now several salt substitutes on the market which are quite satisfactory. The give food a saline taste which is approximately that given by common table salt. They have one thing in common—there is no sodium in them, and it is this element which is to be avoided in cases of inflammation of the mucous membrane lining.


Dr. E.V. Ullmann has found that the diet which is so useful in sinus trouble may also be used to advantage in cases of those who have a tendency to the common cold. The common cold is a manifestation of inflamed mucous membrane lining of the nose and throat, and with the proper articles of food the tendency to the common cold may be lessened. The reduction of the salt intake reduces the tendency to water-logging of the inflamed tissues of the nose and throat, and this of course reduces the discharge from the nose and helps to allay the inflammation. Also the element calcium is retained in greater quantities in the body, and as this element is of service in all inflammatory processes the condition is further helped by its presence.