10 Foods That Could Make Your Cold or Flu Worse
We know the foods that make a cold or flu better—like a steaming bowl of chicken soup, or a mug of ginger tea. But what about the foods that make a cold or flu worse? Avoid these when you’re feeling under the weather.
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Sugar can cause inflammation, which weakens your body’s white blood cells, which are key to fighting off infections. Try to avoid comforting yourself with too many sweet treats (and yes, that includes sweetened juice) until you feel better. Here are 9 other ways you could be making your cold or flu worse.
Thinking of grabbing saltines, buttered toast, or a heaping bowl of pasta? Think again. Refined carbohydrates are broken down quickly into sugar, triggering the same blood sugar rise as sugary drinks and snacks, with the same inflammatory effects. If you can’t get through an illness without toast, try reaching for whole grain instead; it’s digested more slowly, so it doesn’t spike blood sugar. Here are 15 surprising ways to prevent colds and the flu.
Like sugar, alcohol causes inflammation and weakens white blood cells. Alcohol also has the double whammy effect of contributing to dehydration. Hydration is key when you’re sick, because the mucous membranes in your nasal cavities are better at flushing out a virus when they are moist. Being dehydrated while sick is also likely to make those muscle aches that much worse. You may also find that if you’re already mildly dehydrated from your illness, drinking alcohol can hit you harder than usual. Opt for water and tea until you’re feeling well.
If you have a cold or upper respiratory symptoms, there’s no need to say no to sriracha sauce—spicy foods can actually help clear out your nasal passages. But if you’re experiencing an upset stomach with your illness, back off of the hot stuff. It can make an already upset stomach worse. Here are the 14 best foods for a cold.
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Reaching for a glass of OJ may be your first instinct when you feel sick—all that vitamin C, right? But citrus fruits, including oranges, grapefruit, and lemon, can irritate the stomach lining and aggravate an upset stomach. If you’re feeling nauseous, best to stay away until your stomach settles down. If you’re fighting a cold though, by all means, eat that orange or drink that OJ, as long as it’s without added sugar. Better yet, squeeze your own—or try one of these 21 natural cold and flu remedies that actually work.
Greasy, fatty foods can cause inflammation, suppressing the immune system. They can also be more difficult to digest than carbohydrates and protein, so you’ll want to avoid them in case of an upset stomach.
It may not have sugar, but candies or gum with contain sorbitol can cause tummy trouble. Sorbitol is not digestible and can cause stomach discomfort or even diarrhea in some people. Diarrhea means dehydration—a sickness no-no. Artificial sweeteners may also trigger headaches. If you’ve got a scratchy throat and need relief, opt for a honey-sweetened cough drop, minus the sorbitol.
Like alcohol, caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and soda can make you more dehydrated, Healthline reports. It also doesn’t help that most of these drinks contain sugar causing inflammation making it harder to fight off infections. These are the 10 habits doctors use to avoid cold and flu season.
Hard or crunchy foods
Any jagged or crunchy foods with rough textures could irritate the throat and aggravate a cough or a sore throat, according to Medical News Today. This includes anything with sharp edges such as crackers, nuts, and even raw vegetables. Instead, stick with foods that have an easy to swallow texture.
Sour, pickled, or brined foods
Pickled foods contain vinegar and or salt, so they can increase inflammation in a sore throat, per Medical News Today. Next, check out these 50 ways to avoid catching a cold this season.