Article by Angela Haldane

Q. I would like to go dairy-free for 3 weeks to see if it helps reduce my nasal congestion. How can I be sure I'll get enough calcium?

A. There are many natural and healthy sources of calcium including hummus (the sesame seed paste it contains – tahini – is rich in calcium), tinned salmon with the soft bones, nuts and seeds as a trail mix, figs, tofu, soy milk, broccoli and soup made with bones.

Fillings and spreads to replace butter in your sandwiches include mayonnaise (egg and oil), avocado, almond butter and banana, relish (with lean meat) and boiled eggs; or go Mediterranean and sprinkle olive oil on your bread/toast or use it as a dip with dukkah (ground nuts and spices).

Of course, by eliminating dairy products you will reduce your saturated fat intake, which is good for the health of your cardiovascular system.

Should the dairy-free trial not improve your nasal congestion, you can try an elimination diet to banish all common allergens for 3 weeks. Then reintroduce one food group at a time, waiting 3 days after each group is added to observe for any reaction. If you need guidance, see your registered naturopath (such as Natural Ange Ltd). If you wish to do an allergy test, see this website under the About section.

Herbal medicine is also effective for decongesting mucous, toning mucous membranes and improving immunity. Try the Cold Decongestant Formula, also on this website.