Is my stuffy nose making me gain weight? On a talk show recently, a woman claimed that after years of being severely congested, she lost 40 pounds just by keeping her sinuses clear with spicy food. This hits home: I’m always congested-and 25 pounds overweight. Does the idea sound too far-fetched to you?

Chronic congestion dulls the aromas and flavors of food, preventing the brain from getting strong cues that signal satiety. As a result, it’s easy to overeat, To open the sinuses and enhance food’s smell and taste for more satiety-triggering impact, try recipes with horseradish, wasabi, chili peppers or hot-pepper sauce (like Tabasco). You can even add a dash of powdered cayenne pepper to popcorn, crackers, trail mix, hot chocolate or tea for a spicy sinus-clearing zing. You’ll see a difference quickly: This strategy has helped women curb overeating and lose up to five pounds in a week, simply because they could fully register those all important “I’m full” cues.

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